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Teamwork: an introduction for school governors (Wales)
Teamwork: an introduction for school governors (Wales)

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3.2 Understanding why some parents and carers decide not to be ‘partners’

Partnership between parents/carers and practitioners include sensitively formulating what is envisaged for the partnership, and listening to parents’ and carers’ views, reactions and wishes. But what might lie behind parents’ and carers’ seeming lack of engagement with practitioners? Activity 7 asks you to think about this in more detail.

Activity 7: Reasons for a lack of engagement

Timing: Allow 10 mintues

Based on what you have learnt on this course and in your experience as a governor, in the box below, note down five reasons why a parent or carer may not be able to fully engage with practitioners and the school community.

You can download the notes you make by using the ‘download answers’ box which appears when you first save a comment on this course.

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There are many reasons why a parent or carer may not engage with practitioners or the wider school community. Each parent/carer will have their own individual circumstances and reasons. The list that follows is not exhaustive; your list of reasons may include additional points, or points that are specific to your school:

  • heavy and demanding work commitments
  • family pressures
  • childcare difficulties
  • care commitments
  • cost of transport or lack of transport
  • fear of teachers and schools
  • unsure about the reason for an invitation
  • letter of invitation not getting home
  • not able to read the written language of the letter
  • language of the letter is ‘formal’ and unfriendly
  • insufficient notice of the meeting
  • fear of ‘authority’
  • expecting that there will be no answer to particular problems
  • lack of confidence at speaking English or Welsh
  • time limitations because of work and family
  • lack of internet access
  • health reasons
  • not knowing anyone who will be there
  • unsure about going out alone after dark
  • dislike of formal meetings
  • fear of being asked to do something
  • fear of an unwelcoming atmosphere
  • worry about what might be said concerning a child
  • fear of being held responsible for a child’s lack of progress or disruptive behaviour
  • lack of permanent accommodation
  • low self-esteem
  • lack of confidence
  • fear of being judged
  • not wanting to speak in public
  • previous commitments
  • no faith in the school’s ability to solve a problem
  • clashes with work or other commitments
  • previous negative experience of a school setting.

It’s a long list – and provides examples of only some of the reasons for a lack of engagement or failure to turn up to meetings.