Parents Matter

Year: 2016

Author: Kerrison, Marcel, Kilpatrick, Sue, Barnes, Robin

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Parents Matter is an 18 month project led by the University of Tasmania in partnership with The Smith Family, Dorset Council and Colony 47, funded by the Tasmanian Community Fund. Parents, regardless of their status in life, generally want the best for their children, and importantly, have a very strong influence on their children continued participation in education and training. Parents who are more confident with education and training are more likely to engage as learners themselves, providing role models for their children. Although parents want the best for their children, parents living in disadvantaged communities in particular may not have the educational experiences themselves to draw upon to support their children’s educational aspirations and for many parents who have not completed year 12 do not have positive memories of school, and lack confidence as learners themselves. This project is attempting to addresses these issues by partnering with not-for-profit organisations Colony 47, Dorset Council and The Smith Family which operate in the target communities. The project approach is to build social capital by expanding parents’ networks and access to educational resources. This project is also addressing the gap between parental aspirations and parental knowledge by linking parents to expert knowledge and quality resources. The project is providing Tasmanian parents/carers, with children in years 5-8, knowledge and access to resources and information to enable them to better support their children’s aspirations and educational attainment. Parent-led, community based learning groups have been established in three low socioeconomic status communities. They meet every school term and provide resources to assist parents/carers to support and realise their children’s educational aspirations for post-year 10 study. The project has provided parent/community leaders with structured training covering skills to facilitate the groups and educate their peers about post-year 10 study options. The parent/community leaders have access to quality resources, and are developing networks in senior secondary colleges, TasTAFE and the University of Tasmania to support and inform other parents. This presentation reports the first stage evaluation of the Parents Matter project.