( linking to key changes in law and government reforms).
The relationship between parent and practitioner or the service that they are working within is crucial to the effective outcome for all those concerned. It now seems impossible in modern Britain to imagine developing any kind of relationship with a child without taking into account the wider family and the impact it has on that child. Given that this is the case it is essential to understand the nature of that relationship and although there can be many types, the most effective parent-practitioner relationship is a partnership. Ideally, this would be defined by mutual participation, shared power, involving the expertise of both partners, with agreement about aims and process, negotiation, mutual respect and trust, and open and honest communication. In caring for someone else’s child, we inevitably work within an ‘emotional framework’ (BOVE 2001) and need to ensure that the ‘equivalent expertise’ of parents is fully recognised.
Although the idea of partnership is widely accepted in current service policy, its meaning is rarely fully understood. Dictionary’s provide a range of meanings from “a person who takes part with another in doing something” to “an accomplice” but a parent- practitioner partnership has to be one in which both parties work closely together with active participation and involvement as opposed to the professional working on (e.g. treating) the parent. A fitting definition of partnership working that sits with this ethos is: ‘….a cross sector alliance in which individuals, groups or organisations agree to: work together to fulfil an obligation or undertake a specific task; share the risks as well as the benefits; and review the relationship regularly, revising their agreement as necessary.’ (Quoted in Partnership made painless – a joined-up guide to working together, Harrison R et al, Russell House Publishing, 2003)
In education, the...