Can Person-Centred, Strength Based Programmes Impact on Parents’ Engagement in Education?

Wilson, Suzanne orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-7021-8967 (2022) Can Person-Centred, Strength Based Programmes Impact on Parents’ Engagement in Education? International Journal of Applied Positive Psychology, 7 . pp. 51-71. ISSN 2364-5040

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Parental responsibility is often the focus of research and policy surrounding closing the attainment gap between low-income students and their wealthier peers. This article describes a pilot intervention programme which aimed to enable better parental support of their children with their schoolwork and educational engagement. Through interviews with the parents and facilitators involved with the pilot, this article provides an example of how strength-based interventions can promote parental engagement in education in marginalised groups, such as families considered disadvantaged. The programme consisted of six one-to-one sessions with 25 parents. Semi-structured interviews with five parents and four facilitators revealed that parents reported increased self-efficacy and confidence in supporting their children’s education. Key features of the programme contributing to sustainable changes were the programmes person-centred approach and the use of strength-based strategies. The qualitative analysis provides only short-term accounts of behavioral change, but despite these shortcomings the results provide tentative evidence for the efficacy of a brief solution focused programme in supporting low-income parents' engagement. More research is needed using larger sample sizes with longer data collection periods.

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