Parents Matter: Empowering Parents to Inform Other Parents of Post-Year 10 Pathway Options in Disadvantaged Communities
The research, focused on parents with children in years 5-10 in three low-socioeconomic rural and regional communities, drew on an understanding of educational aspiration as culturally and socio-spatially embedded to develop practical strategies for parents to engage with their children as they made education and career pathways choices. It draws from principles of community‑ based participatory research to address the gap between parental aspirations for their children and parental knowledge by linking parents to expert knowledge and quality resources, building their confidence to discuss post-year 10 options and support their children’s choices. This paper reports results from the evaluation of a successful 'initiative' to support parents and families in rural/regional Tasmania to access information about their children’s options for post school education and contribute to their aspirations for further study. This research highlights the challenges in engaging parents in disadvantaged communities around education. Establishing trust takes time. Parents are well placed to deliver parent information programs that engage other parents in their children’s education and career journeys. Programs must understand the community they are operating in and walk alongside its parents to design programs. Those aiming to increase parents’ ability to support children’s education should deliver targeted programs in community settings that respond to the context and needs of that community. Facilitators should act as bridges between community, industry, schools and parents to address the gap between parental aspirations and parental knowledge.
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