Government's construction of the relation between parents and schools in the upbringing of children in England: 1963-2009

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In this essay David Bridges argues that since most families choose to realize their responsibility for the major part of their children's education through state schools, then the way in which the state constructs parents' relation with these schools is one of its primary levers on parenting itself. Bridges then examines the way in which parent-school relations have been defined in England through government and quasi-government interventions over the last forty-five years, tracing these through an awakening interest in the relation between social class and unequal school success in the 1960s, passing through the discourse of accountability in the 1970s, marketization in the 1980s and 1990s, performativity extending from this period into the first decade of the twenty-first century, and, most recently, more direct interventions into parenting itself and the regulation of school relations with parents in the interests of safeguarding children. These have not, however, been entirely discrete policy themes, and the positive and pragmatic employment of the discourse of partnership has run throughout this period, albeit with different points of emphasis on the precise terms of such partnership.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)299-324
Number of pages26
JournalEducational Theory
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2010


  • Child
  • Child Rearing
  • Child Welfare
  • Child, Preschool
  • Curriculum
  • Education
  • England
  • Government Programs
  • History, 20th Century
  • History, 21st Century
  • Humans
  • Parents
  • Public Policy
  • Schools
  • Social Responsibility
  • Students

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