Characteristics of a School, Community and Family Partnership to Increase Parental Involvement in Learning at Rural Multigrade Schools

Nicolaas Van Loggenberg Venter, Jurie Joubert, Rajendra Chetty


Parental involvement in learning through a school, community and family (SCAF) partnership programme is needed at rural multigrade schools in order to ultimately improve academic achievement. The internal and external challenges these schools and their parents face daily, however, are currently detrimental to parental involvement in learning. Lack of support, and inability of schools to design their own SCAF partnership programme, further hinder parental involvement in learning. This study aims to determine the product characteristics of a SCAF partnership programme that will support rural multigrade schools to develop their own practicable, contextual and effective strategies to improve parental involvement in learning. Although the process characteristics of such a programme are equally important, they are beyond the scope of this article. This study used a qualitative methodology through design-based research. Although the study comprised two phases, this article focuses on Phase Two. Phase One is beyond the scope of the article. In Phase Two, the sample comprised 26 parents and eight teachers from two randomly sampled rural multigrade schools in the Western Cape, South Africa. Data was collected through focus group interviews, observations, reports and logs at these schools in the Cape Winelands education district in the Western Cape. The findings indicate the product characteristics as: promoting partnerships with parents that lead to involving parents in learning; creating formal and informal opportunities for communication regarding learning; and utilising community and parents as resources to enrich children’s learning. This study further indicates that parents and teachers need to focus on these characteristics and existing challenges in the multigrade milieu, when developing a SCAF partnership programme during a workshop. This will then lead to the development of practicable, contextual and effective strategies for that specific school.

DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2014.v5n23p1225

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Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)

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