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Hard to reach parents or hard to reach schools?

In the authors’ research with Pakistani and Bangladeshi heritage parents, some teachers, head teachers and other educational professionals referred to the South Asian parents as ‘hard to reach’. Whilst it was clear from the parents that they were not very, and in some cases not at all, involved in their children’s schools and knew little about the education system or what their children were doing in school, it was also very apparent that the parents were not ‘difficult’, ‘obstructive’, or ‘indifferent’ the kind of behaviour ‘hard to reach’ implies. The article therefore considers that rather than parents being ‘hard to reach’, it is frequently the schools themselves that inhibit accessibility for certain parents. The authors challenge the cultural interference model, arguing that it is incorrect and pathologises parents. The article arises out of a two-year, Economic and Social Research Council funded, qualitative study of Bangladeshi and Pakistani heritage families and schools, in the north-east of England.

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Individual views espoused in this article/paper do not necessarily reflect the views of the Portmir Foundation and have been included to represent the variety of different opinions that may exist on a single issue. In accordance with our democratic charter, the Portmir Foundation values debate in a spirit of mutual tolerance and understanding, even when such views contradict those of the Foundation.  


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