Fathers involvement in their children’s upbringing and education

23 March 2006

A study of experiences of fathers and children in the Thornbury and Bradford Moor areas of Bradford

An executive summary and the full report are available for download at the bottom of this page – right click the link and select "Save Target As…"

By Syed Razwan, for The Children’s Society Safestart Project


The research study began in July 2001 and was completed in January 2002. The Safestart Project is one of The Children’s Society projects operating in Bradford. It came into existence in January 2000 with a remit to develop models of parenting education and support practice within the Bradford district that are child centred and fully evaluated.

The Safestart Project is currently involved in promoting and developing parental involvement in primary schools in the Newlands area of Bradford, with the aim of developing child centred education and support. This work has included working with groups of parents to address their concerns about managing their children’s behaviour. In carrying out this work we also seek the views of the children concerned and use their feedback in the work with parents.

When the Safestart Project began working with Thornbury Primary School, parental involvement in the school was limited. Most of the everyday negotiations between home and school were undertaken by mothers and, although fathers did attend the parents’ evenings and were seen to bring children to school, they appeared as shadowy background figures in the school. As the parental involvement work in the school developed, the take up was largely from mothers. Specific activities were organised for men only but were not taken up.

The Project therefore decided to conduct some small-scale research into the involvement of fathers / male carers into their children’s education and upbringing. The research focused on the level and type of involvement fathers / male carers of children who attended Thornbury Primary School had in the day to day care of their children.

The following questions were considered important:

„« Did the fathers / male carers see themselves as having any specific roles in relation to their education and upbringing?

„« Did the level of involvement vary according to the age and sex of the child?

„« Did the fathers / male cares play a more active role in particular aspects of their child’s life e.g. in their religious and cultural upbringing?

„« Did they want to play a more active role but feel that there are barriers preventing their full participation?

In recent years there has been much debate about the positive outcomes of fathers involvement in their children’s education and upbringing and the barriers men face in accessing parental support services (see Ghate et al 2000, Ryan 2000). This study highlights that there are additional barriers for Asian fathers such as language problems, long unsocial working hours, supporting dependant elderly relatives in Pakistan and cultural barriers such as the mixing of unrelated men and women.

Most of the fathers suggested that they would like to be more involved but would like a more male friendly atmosphere such as having a separate venue and a male worker. Some suggested their work pattern and prayer times should also be taken into consideration.

To download the executive summary or full report, right click the relevant link below, and select "Save Target As…"

Fathers involvement in children\s upbringing and education
Executive Summary: Fathers\ involvement in their children\s upbringing and education

Tags: ,