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Partnerships with parents

Palaiologou, I; Male, T; (2017) Partnerships with parents. In: Brown, Z and Ward, S, (eds.) Contemporary Issues in Childhood: An Ecological Approach. (pp. 83-97). Routledge: London, United Kindom. Green open access

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Research focusing on partnerships has often been limited to an examination of the relationships between parents and formal education settings (Rouse, 2012; Grayson, 2013; Goodall, 2013; Jackson and Needham, 2014; MacQueen and Hobbs, 2014). Influential models of partnerships such as “Spokes on a wheel” (Gordon 1970), “Three models depicting parent roles” (Swap 1993), “Six types of involvement school-family-community partnerships” (Epstein 1997), “A six-element empowerment paradigm for parent and family involvement” (Souto-Manning and Swick, 2006), “Family-Centred Practice” (Rouse 2012), “Six point model” (Goodhall 2013) all approach partnerships as dualistic relationships between the parents and the educational settings. Building on systems theory, we argue that the nature of partnerships indicates complexity, non-linearity and non-predictability, influenced by a variety of interrelated and interwoven factors that are interacting in a continual manner. The specific context of partnerships determines a system of compartmentalised, context specific, relationships between the stakeholders which connects them as a whole and attempts to establish continuity in understanding the rituals and values of this context. In that sense partnerships should be approached from an ecological paradigm that is concerned with the examination of partnership as a complex social phenomenon. This qualitative research that informs this paper was undertaken in 12 educational settings in England where all stakeholders (families, children, people from the local community and school staff) were interviewed and content analysis of relevant secondary data (e.g. press cuttings) were examined to: 1. Explore the views of the relationships between staff in educational settings and children, parents and communities; 2. Examine how these relationships are formed; 3. Investigate how (if) partnerships are sustained. We found that the formation of successful partnership depends on the conditions in which stakeholders are interacting (social context, structures and organisation) and are contingent on and depend on the way interactions are accomplished towards a common goal. Furthermore, effective partnerships that encourage multi-modal, multi-layer and multi-factional communication between all stakeholders and are open to interaction between all stakeholders lead to a process of continual evolution, rather than a reduction to the properties and values of the school only. The data revealed five strands of partnerships: malleable, isolation, passive, active and dynamic/ecological of which the first four reflect the normally seen dualistic approaches to partnerships. The last one: Dynamic/Ecological, however, includes multiple ways of establishing connections and reflecting a “holism” desire to identify common goals for the learning environment and joint decision making at all levels.

Type: Book chapter
Title: Partnerships with parents
ISBN: 1138200867
ISBN-13: 9781138200869
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Partnership, Schools, Early Childhood Settings, Ecological paradigm.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Learning and Leadership
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1565093
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