Parent Voice: knowledge, values and viewpoint

Research article by Jacky Lumby (University of Southampton)

National policy increasingly stresses the importance of parents’ engagement in education. However, tensions and struggle for control between parents and teachers is a common research finding. This article identifies a number of reasons why parents’ views on curriculum, pedagogy and the purpose of schooling are commonly seen as of less relevance or legitimacy than those of teachers. The views of parents of children participating in vocational courses offered through two 14—19 Pathfinder partnerships are interrogated. The cogency of parents’ views and the differences in the values of parents and staff emerge. It is suggested that if parents’ voice is silenced, it is likely to be for reasons other than their capacity to enter into a debate on curriculum and pedagogy.