The silent partners? Leading parental involvement in primary schools in areas experiencing educational inequality.
O'Reilly, Siobhan (2012) The silent partners? Leading parental involvement in primary schools in areas experiencing educational inequality. EdD thesis, Dublin City University.
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This research project explored and examined parental involvement in two primary school with an emphasis on ‘leading’ this involvement. Both schools were situated in designated DEIS Urban Band 1 areas in Dublin. DEIS Urban Band 1 schools are identified as areas of high levels of socioeconomic disadvantage. The project was contextualised within the current national policy which has committed to parents as partners in their child’s education and the evidence from international literature clearly linking parental involvement to positive child educational achievement and experience. The study examined the efforts at engagement from an equality and social inclusion perspective.
The project used a case study approach with a comparative element in that it was carried out in a National Primary school under Catholic patronage and a school under the Educate Together umbrella. Qualitative methods were used to gather the data. These included ‘questerviews’, interviews, observation and existing document reviews.
The research identifies a range of complexities involved in leading parental involvement in primary school. This appears to be especially the case in areas of designated disadvantage. The research also outlines a range of opportunities that exist to facilitate inclusive parental involvement. It clearly highlights the importance of ‘clear intention’ and ‘strong leadership focused on involving parents’, ‘relationships’ and capacity for ‘management of the affective elements’, ‘communication style and methods’, ‘values’, ‘persistence’ and ‘a commitment and an ability to prioritise parental involvement within an already packed school agenda and curriculum’ as key elements of leading and facilitating effective and inclusive parental involvement.
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