Between home and school: mobilising ‘hard to reach’ parents to engage with their children’s education

Fretwell, Nathan ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8192-5843 (2021) Between home and school: mobilising ‘hard to reach’ parents to engage with their children’s education. In: Educational Research for Social Justice: Evidence and Practice from the UK. Ross, Alistair, ed. Education Science, Evidence, and the Public Good, 1 . Springer International Publishing, pp. 97-116. ISBN 9783030625719, e-ISBN 9783030625726. [Book Section] (doi:10.1007/978-3-030-62572-6_5)

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Abstract

The last two decades have witnessed an increasing politicisation of parenting and the emergence of parenting support as a key element of social policy. This policyscape is governed, however, by a narrow conception of the public good. The state has delegated responsibility for children’s future outcomes to parents, extolling parenting support as the means for redressing inequality and securing social mobility. This chapter focuses on a particular variant of parenting support: the use of link workers in mobilising parents to become more engaged in their children’s education. It draws on the evaluation of a local government initiative aimed at improving educational outcomes for white British, working-class pupils by encouraging attitudinal and behavioural change amongst parents deemed ‘hard to reach’ and disengaged from education. I argue that behaviour change approaches are misguided and that improved parental engagement cannot compensate for the impact inequitable socio-economic conditions have upon families’ lives and children’s attainment. The chapter challenges deficit constructions of white working-class parents and contests the parental determinism underpinning social policy. It calls instead for a broadened conception of the public good that accords value to all families and seeks to address the adverse socio-economic conditions affecting parents’ lives rather than simply seeking to (re)form their character and conduct.

Item Type: Book Section
Research Areas: A. > School of Health and Education > Education
Item ID: 33099
Notes on copyright: This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an chapter published in Educational Research for Social Justice: Evidence and Practice from the UK. The final authenticated version is available online at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-62572-6_5
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Depositing User: Nathan Fretwell
Date Deposited: 21 May 2021 14:14
Last Modified: 15 Oct 2021 16:57
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/33099

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