Discourses of the good parent in attributing school success

Susan Thomas, Jayne Keogh, Steve Hay

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    13 Citations (Scopus)


    Recent education policy places a heavy emphasis on parents in relation to students' success at school. This paper explores how parents and teachers account for school success. Using membership categorisation analysis, it interrogates data collected in different interview situations across sites over a period of 20 years. The analysis shows how parents and teachers use talk as moral work to conversationally constitute particular agreed versions of the category ‘parent’. This category is interactively assembled through the use of category-bound attributes that construct deficit discourses of parents that explain student achievement. The analysis demonstrates that parents are complicit with teachers in producing versions of being a good parent wherein they are held responsible for their children's school success and that minimises the responsibility of the school. These findings raise questions both about who is responsible for schooling and about current contradictory policy emphases on parent and teacher responsibility for school success.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)452-463
    Number of pages12
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 27 May 2015


    • discourse
    • education policy
    • membership categorisation analysis
    • parents
    • school success


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