Every school will have some families with which it is difficult to engage, and often these are the families of our more vulnerable learners. Dr Pooky Knightsmith looks at why this might be and offers some practical ideas

Successfully and sustainably supporting vulnerable students will usually involve developing a positive relationship with their families, but this can be easier said than done as the vulnerabilities that mean certain children are at the top of our priority list can be the very same things that make their families harder to reach.

Intergenerational school-based issues

Frequently, where we see a child who is having a challenging time at school, we will find that their parents had similar issues too – I have seen this time and time again on a range of issues including school avoidance, school-based anxiety, challenging behaviour and disengagement or underachievement. This can mean that if we want to support a child to develop a new attitude towards school, we may need to support parents to make that same journey too.

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