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Parents’ Perceptions of Parent Teacher Relationship Practices in Dutch Primary Schools – an exploratory pilot study

Abstract

This paper presents the findings of a study examining parents’ perceptions of parent-teacher relationship practices for 3 different types of primary schools with respect to children’s special needs and the socio-economic status of these children. We compare parents’ views from two special education schools, two at-risk schools serving low SES-children, and two mainstream primary education schools in the southern part of the Netherlands. The Epstein Model of Parental Involvement is used as the base for the theoretical framework. To uncover differences in the practices leading to coordinated home and school efforts in order to meet children’s needs, a parental survey was sent out, and answered by 306 parents (response rate 50 percent). Additionally, semi-structured interviews were conducted among 27 parents. The results illustrate that parents and teachers in special education and at-risk schools are very much accustomed to ‘two-way communication’, in contrast to mainstream schools, and that this is valued highly by these parents. Furthermore, teachers in special and at-risk schools are more familiar with interacting with parents, involve them more in decision-making and more often coordinate homework practice with parents.

Keywords: Parent teacher relationship, children with special needs, low-SES, primary education

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