Parents' perceptions of an inner-city secondary school

Year: 1994

Author: McKibbin, Charmaine, Cooper, Tom

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

The literature is increasingly emphasising the educational necessity for parental and broader community participation in primary and secondary schools. Informing family members is seen to be a crucial role for school personnel. The argument is that positive educational change occurs only through changes in teacher attitude combined with a more informed family environment. Within Queensland, government initiatives have emphasised the partnership between school and community and strongly supported the need for increased community involvement in education.

The Teaching for Effective Learning in Senior School (TELSS) project is an ARC-funded three-year collaborative study conducted between Queensland University of Technology and an inner-city secondary school, with the aim of renewing teaching and learning in the senior school whilst determining how the needs of the students can best be served given the changing nature of Australian society. A number of studies have been conducted within the school. The purpose of this presentation is to report on the key issues which emerged when the school's parent and guardian population was surveyed concerning whether the school provided an education geared to the students' interests, abilities, and career futures, how useful communications and school support services were, and parents' understanding of government policy moves to promote more participation within the school.

The data collected were supportive of the school but raised concerns that have implications for effective teaching and learning. These focused on "key" subjects (e.g., mathematics), teacher effectiveness, classroom management, student self-discipline, counselling support, gender equity and lack of communication to the home. There was a particular plea for more parent and guardian involvement in the school.