The of the school and their child’s education. However,

The purpose of this literature review is to undertake an
examination of the literature pertaining
to parental engagement in relation to children’s reading levels. Developing out of this literature
review, three themes have emerged which are; how social policy can affect
parental engagement, the strategies schools are practicing
to promote parental engagement and the effect parental engagement has on
reading levels of children. Makes no sense really??

Many schools work hard to encourage parents to exercise a
role in the life of the school and their child’s education.  However, the level of engagement from each
parent can vary due to socio-economic characteristics, such as social class,
ethnicity, and gender. Such factors can
prevent schools creating positive relationships with parents and fulfilling the
desired engagement. Those parents are then identified as ‘hard to reach’ (Every
Child Matters, 2003). The ‘hard to reach’ parents are often from disparate
groups such as those from ethnic minorities, those with low or no educational
qualifications and those with a low socioeconomic status (Osgood et al.

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Sui-Chu and Willms (1996) suggested there is a direct
relationship between socio-economic status and the level of parental
engagement. For example, home-based
educational activities that are beneficial to a child’s learning are most
likely to occur within households with a higher socio-economic status (Molfsee,
2003). Reasons for this include material
deprivation and a low level of intellectual ability. Therefore, such parents
lack motivation and place less value on their child’s education (Osgood et al.
2012). With fewer aspirations for their child, parental engagement within the
school is not a priority. However, this contradicts with the Plowden Report
(1967) which highlighted the importance of dismissing the typical stereotypes.  The report acknowledged that parents with a
lower socioeconomic status could place a high level of importance on their
child’s education, an education they themselves missed. This is also relevant
to parents with a higher socio-economic status, who may place less priority on
their child’s education, which could be due to busy work schedules and a view
of sole responsibility on the school and practitioners. Furthermore, Harris and
Goodall (2008) acknowledge that such parents who are viewed as ‘hard to reach’
often find the school ‘hard to reach’, as they found a significant number of
parents with a working-class background to perceive teachers as superior.
Furthermore, if a school holds a view that parental motivation and engagement
is dependant on their socioeconomic status and intellectual ability, this can
place blame upon parents for the gap in achievement. This plays ignorance to
the possibility the school may have an influence in creating such disparity.

There is little evidence to suggest that an ethnic minority
background can have a negative effect on parental engagement. In fact, a study
carried out by the Department for Children, Schools, and Families (can’t find date??), found a significant number of white
parents who shared that the school and practitioner are responsible for their
child’s education, not the parents.  This
is compared to a small number of black and Asian parents who expressed similar
views. Furthermore, the study highlighted that many parents belonging to an
ethnic minority placed significant importance on their child’s education and
engagement with the school. They expressed that a good education can help
overcome social issues their children may face, such as racial discrimination and social exclusion. Gutman and Ackerman
(2007) suggested a strong, positive attitude with a willingness to get involved
is a greater influence on a child’s
education than socio-economic status. However, such high aspirations can create
an ‘aspiration-achievement gap’. This is when the parental aspirations aren’t
met by the child’s educational achievement (Gutman and Ackerman, 2007).  This can affect a child’s self-esteem and

Literature suggests that socioeconomic characteristics can
affect engagement between parents and schools.  However, with such factors creating a many
‘hard to reach’ parents, there must be strategies in place within schools to
overcome these barriers and to ensure a level engagement is available to all
parents, with no relation to their socioeconomic status.