Date of Submission



Parental engagement is low SES schools is either minimal or rarely valued. Subsequently, this critical ethnography explores perspectives of staff and parents of the Community Partnerships Program (CPP) in a multiethnic, low SES, Catholic primary school in South East QLD. The purpose of the CPP was to offer support for students, staff and parents. Whilst the program excelled at sociocultural responsivity and care, questions arose as to whether demonstrated authentic parental engagement entailing transformation through participatory democracy. Staff and parents’ perspectives of how they perceived care and transformation as purpose for a school based CPP are explored in this thesis, along with how they perceived power enabled or constrained care and transformation. Moreover, staff and parents’ perspectives of future possibilities for a caring and transformative school-based CPP are also explored. Findings and recommendations include the discussion of the quality of parental engagement, the role of principals in impacting staff perceptions and attitudes toward parents and parental engagement and the benefit of preservice and inservice teachers in undertaking professional development in best practice for parental engagement. An example of a framework for personalised parental engagement, titled contextualised sensitive care, is developed to demonstrate how it is possible to offer a CPP that is not only caring, but also a transformational one for families and school communities.

Document Type


Access Rights

Open Access


327 pages

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Faculty of Education