There is now international consensus that building positive partnerships between home and school is critically important for children’s learning. However, the notion of family-school ‘partnership’ remains a vexed issue in education in Australia, with a persistent gap between the rhetoric/rationale for partnership and the lived experience of relationships that are the linchpin of effective and respectful practice. This gap may be amplified for some students and their families, particularly those who are marginalised, excluded or ‘at risk’ in some way, including those who are socio-economically disadvantaged. This paper draws upon data from the qualitative phase of a study focused on improving educational outcomes for students from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds. This phase included interviews with the parents/carers of 32 students and generated insights into the nuanced nature of family-school partnership for many of these families. The findings highlight the need for schools to recognise partnership efforts initiated by parents/carers, the value of consistent, informed practice, and the importance of working productively with the tensions that can exist around different perceptions and experiences that might otherwise reinforce disadvantage.
SOURCE: Graham A, Truscott J, O’Byrne C, Considine G, et al. “Disadvantaged families’ experiences of Home-school Partnerships: navigating agency, expectations and stigma.” International Journal of Inclusive Education, 30 Apr 2019.
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