Parent Partnership

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How important is working in partnership between parents and practitioners in early years settings and primary schools and how can we make this as effective as possible?

Chapter 1- Introduction.
The purpose of this Independent Study is to investigate and determine how working in partnership between parents and practitioners affects the lives of the children, their families and the staff at the setting. I will focus my research predominantly on how we as parents and professionals can ensure this partnership has a positive impact on children’s learning and development within school. I will reflect upon the role played by parents, carers and families in supporting children’s well–being and reflect upon my own role within multi-agency working. I will include the skills needed to communicate positively and effectively with children, young people and their families whilst recognising and sharing the need to value difference and diversity in addressing children’s needs. The setting for this small scale project (Bell 2001) is the school where I am a volunteer, which will allow me to capture the school environment. This is a smaller than average primary school in a small village in Somerset. Almost all pupils are of White British background. Few children are eligible for free school meals. The proportion that has special educational needs (SEN) and/or disabilities is below average. The school operates four mixed-age classes including one for both Reception and Year 1 children. The ethos of the school provides an environment conducive to learning, where teaching objectives are clearly defined and structured and where students are motivated to learn and reach their potential. The school received an Office for Standards in Education (OFSTED) inspection in January 2010. In its report, the school was described as a satisfactory school that provided a satisfactory quality of teaching. I define partnership as an agreement between two or more parties that have agreed to work together in the pursuit of common goals. This is supported by Cheminais (2008 : p.24) who expresses the concept of a partnership entails a group of people joining together, sharing a common problem or issue to be addressed, who all take collective responsibility for resolving it, for example; improving outcomes for pupils, and ‘removing barriers to learning’. Epstein (1995: p. 203) defines partnership as ‘practices that schools, families and communities conduct to influence children’s learning and development’. Epstein’s definition reinforces the importance of partnership which is also at the core of my research. DfES (2007: p.11) stress ‘Parents should be seen as vital partners in a child's education’. The selection of this research topic was primarily inspired through a previous case study I undertook on working in partnership and my own experiences at the settings my young children have attended or currently attend. My personal rationale for completing this research concerns my values and beliefs as a parent as I subscribe to the notion that supporting my children in their learning at school is essential and is of particular personal interest. WHO IS AGAINST THIS My professional interest ………. This study aims to contribute to my personal professional development by broadening my knowledge and understanding of the benefits of working in partnership, whilst deepening understanding of the way in which children can improve from this interaction and increase their individual development. Through engaging in this process of educational research, this provides opportunity for reflection which allows practitioners to extend their understanding of issues and may result in changes for the individual that can have an impact upon their own practice (Lowe, 2007). Personal reflection upon such knowledge in relation to my professional role may contribute to a change in my practice in supporting relationships between home and school. words needs to be 1000-1500....
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