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Peripheral Voices: Parental Involvement, Social Class, and Educational Disadvantage

Joan Hanafin and Anne Lynch
British Journal of Sociology of Education
Vol. 23, No. 1 (Mar., 2002), pp. 35-49
Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1393096
Page Count: 15
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Peripheral Voices: Parental Involvement, Social Class, and Educational Disadvantage
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Abstract

This paper presents the views of working-class parents on home-school links. Group interviews with parents of pupils in a primary school in the disadvantaged areas scheme in the Republic of Ireland suggest that parental involvement in school is limited to the giving and receiving of information, restricted consultation, and engagement in some supplemental responsibilities. Although parents were interested, informed and concerned regarding their children's education, they felt excluded from participation in decision-making about school management and organisation, about matters that affected them personally and financially, and about their children's progress. We suggest that heterogeneity in working-class voice merits further research; that the gendered nature of parent-school links needs further refinement to take account of being a primary carer; and that hearing working-class parents' voices can increase understanding of how parent groupings occupy spaces that are relatively peripheral or proximal to the school site and to their children's experiences of schooling.

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