Engaging fathers in the education of their sons: A case study

  • Abide Zenenga

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    Parents play a vital role in the education of their children. Apart from providing material resources, they are also responsible for enhancing what is learnt at school and providing relevant background information about their children that is helpful to teachers. This research project focuses on engaging fathers in the education of their sons. It explores the roles played by fathers in the education of their sons and some of the barriers they encounter in trying to work with schools. For various reasons, fewer fathers engage in the education of their children yet they can play a vital role. Although the contribution to education by mothers cannot be ignored, this thesis contributes new knowledge to the unique influence that fathers have in the education of their sons. This enquiry is based on a qualitative case study carried out on a specialist secondary school in the UK. The participatory action research case study methodology adopted in this PhD thesis provided an opportunity to make an in-depth study of the phenomena. A triangular approach was employed in which the views of the fathers, boys and teachers were considered through interviews, document analysis and observations. The enquiry used a participatory action research approach in which participants were involved in the identification of the problem, implementation of an action and reflection of the whole process. Fathers, boys and teachers in the school participated in a series of meetings to suggest ways in which the school could improve the engagement of fathers. The research helped the school to formulate policy that improved the achievement of boys through the engagement of their fathers. Management at the school has taken on board most of the recommendations and is now in the process of improving and strengthening relationships with parents and fathers in particular. The school has employed a family liaison officer responsible for working with parents and advising staff on how to engage better with fathers. This research project has been driven by my own experiences as a father, teacher and son. It contributes new knowledge in the form of a "Father Engagement Model" designed for the school to engage and maintain relations with more fathers. The style of writing adopted in this thesis has been aimed at engaging a wide range of readers including the fathers and their sons of various reading levels.
    Date of Award2015
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Northampton
    SupervisorPhilip Garner (Supervisor)

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