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Barriers to partnership working

AngerThere are many potential barriers to establishing a working partnership with parents, which can apply to both parties.

Here are some of them:


Time and availability
  • Finding a mutually convenient time and venue to meet
  • Other demands from family and work
  • Access and transport for some parents Language, culture and religion
Cultural and/or religious attitudes towards disability
  • Language barriers (there are no words for Downs syndrome in Punjabi or Urdu)
  • What is culturally acceptable
Parents own education
  • Negative feelings towards school and authority
  • Feelings of inadequacy
  • Fear of being judged
  • Poor communication channels (e.g. through the child only)
  • Poor information sharing (what does go on in school?)
  • Automatic use of jargon
  • Shyness
  • Lack of confidence
School and staff
  • Personal relationships between teacher and parent
  • Limited facilities for meeting with parents
  • Lack of empathy with the role of parent
  • Lack of staff skills and confidence
  • Access to relevant information
  • An unwelcoming environment
Parent and school
  • Who to talk to?
  • Lack of acceptance or awareness of child’s difficulties
  • The value placed on education
  • Young people not wanting parents involved
  • Lack of information around transition periods (from one school to the next)
  • Disinterest/lack of clear responsibility
  • Lack of consensus between parents
Previous experience
  • Negative previous experience
  • Feelings of being judged
  • Lack of action or follow up
  • Being patronised
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