Understanding the direct involvement of parents in policy development and school activities in a primary school

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It is acknowledged that parental engagement with children’s learning and education is of vital importance. But, there is a tendency to confuse engagement with learning with engagement with the school. While all types of parents’ involvement can have a positive effect, it is actually what parents do with their child at home that has the greatest impact. However, unless parental involvement in learning is embedded in whole-school processes it is unlikely to as effective as possible. This paper documents an action research study that explores the inclusion of parents and home values in the construction of the teaching and learning environment. This was a small step towards positive parent-teacher collaboration, which allowed an exchange of knowledge, values and cultural background experiences. In acknowledging the ways in which the parents already engaged with their children’s learning, it began to enhance self-efficacy in their ability to directly affect this learning. This work has also provoked reflexive engagement of my influence and understanding of involving parents of children with additional and diverse learning needs. But, it also details the transformative journey that influenced my thinking about how we as a school could begin to develop whole-school processes to directly involve parents in policy development and school activities.

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