Perspectives on consultation with parents in the development of the school plan
Citation:Anne O'Gara, 'Perspectives on consultation with parents in the development of the school plan'
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This dissertation traces the development of a more centralised role for parents in primary education. The Education Act, 1998 emphasises the importance of a partnership approach to the development of the school plan. Department of Education and Science circular letters, policy guidelines and publications encourage consultation with parents in the development of aspects of school policy. The introduction of Boards of Management has offered opportunities for consultation between parents, teachers, patrons’ representatives and community representatives in the task of managing the local school. Parents’ Associations also aim to foster co-operation between the partners in education at local, national and European level. This study aims to provide new knowledge with respect to the current level of parental participation in the process of school development planning in consultation with the Board of Management, the principal and the teachers. The literature review documents research, which indicates that there are significant educational, social and behavioural gains for children where partnership between parents and teachers exists. Data relating to the important role that school planning can play in promoting school effectiveness and improvement are reviewed. Particular reference is made to initiatives relating to parental participation in education for children in disadvantaged areas. Research, which describes models of parental involvement in school, and in particular, parental involvement in policy development and decision-making is outlined. The theory of change within the context of educational reform provides a framework, which facilitates deeper engagement with the data obtained. In designing a research methodology a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods of collecting data is selected. The quantitative research consists of a detailed questionnaire to the principals of the schools in the sample. Information is sought on various themes such as, the purpose of involving parents in school development planning, awareness of the implications of current legislation, engagement with the Primary Curriculum Support Programme and School Development Planning Initiative – Primary, current status of the Parents’ Association and the involvement of the Board of Management in school development planning. Practice with respect to the process used in developing policies is explored. Perceptions of the various education partners in relation to factors which facilitate or inhibit consultation with parents in the development of the school plan are elicited. For the purposes of gleaning further insights into the research problem a case study design approach is used. In this research the cases, or units of study are three school communities, identified following analysis of data drawn from the questionnaires. Focus group interviews with the education partners explore themes selected as a result of the synthesis of data obtained from the questionnaire to principals. This process contributes to the development of a deeper understanding of the complex issues involved in consulting with parents in the development of the school plan.
Author: O'Gara, Anne
Type of material:Thesis
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