Research Fellow, Institute of Education
Note: Janet no longer works within the University
A review of best practice in parental engagement
Parental belief and Parental engagement in children’s learning
Life before Warwick
I’m a transplanted American, having done my undergraduate work in San Francisco (theology) and in Rome (spirituality). I married and settled in England, and first worked in administration at the University of Nottingham. From that post, I moved into educational research and then came to Warwick in 2004.
Best things about working at Warwick
The best thing about working at Warwick is the group of colleagues I work with; the research and teaching focus means that there are always ideas being shared, always something to learn from someone.
Worst thing about working for Warwick or If you could change one thing at Warwick, what would it be?
I think I would like more collaboration across faculties – it’s beginning to happen but it’s so useful I’d be happy if there were to be more of it.
What people are surprised to learn about me…..
I collect a certain genre of conspiracy books because they amuse me so much, perhaps?
What would you dream job be?
A research focused post that allowed me to teach without having to do much marking, I think!
Parental engagement in children’s learning; this has been a focus for some years but I’m now moving into it more deeply in relation to parents’ religious/faith beliefs, or lack of them, and how that affects their interactions with children’s learning. Previous research has shown it has an effect on children’s educational outcomes but we don’t know why, we don’t know what different groups of parents are doing differently, or why.
What have been useful training/ development to date
We’ve had some research away days, where colleagues can talk about research opportunities, submit articles or bids for comment, and hear updates from the research support team. Those have been very useful.
I also find attending conferences to be a very good means of development; it allows me to meet people I’d never meet otherwise and to be spurred to think down new avenues.
Other roles (eg. peer review journals)
I’ve acted as a peer reviewer for:
Journal of School Leadership
AERA (American Educational Research Association)
BERA (British Educational Research Association)
School Effectiveness and School Improvement
I’m a member of the National Home School Development Board and was a member of the Department for Children, Schools and Families Parental Engagement Consultative Group
Next bid / grant
I have bid for development funds (from Warwick) to kick start the research around Parental Beliefs and Parental Engagement; with a colleague, I’ve also bid for a project looking at leadership among free schools.
With another colleague, I will bid for a project looking at homeschooling in the UK.
Latest academic writing publication
I have a wide range of interests, and my latest publication isn’t really related to education at all, Goodall, J., (2010) “Superstition and Human Agency”, Implicit Religion, Vol 13, No. 3
The last one relating to education came from the work I did with colleagues at Warwick on federations of schools,
Chapman, Lindsay, Muijis, Harris, Arweck, Goodall, (2010), “Governance, leadership, and management in federations of schools”, School Effectiveness and School Improvement, Vol. 21, No. 1, pgs 53 - 74.
Major achievement to date
I think I’m proudest of the work we did on parental engagement, both for the DCSF (now DfE), and for Save the Children. On the basis of a literature review we did for them and the recommendations we made on the basis of the review, Save the Children funded the Families and Schools Together Programme as a pilot in the UK, and is now rolling it out on a wide scale.
I recently found out that my son has been volunteering in the programme, in Manchester – someone had suggested it to him as a good way into working with schools!
Three top tips / learning
• You really can do it – no matter how much it seems that you can’t.
• Even the most eminent scholars sometimes have journal articles rejected; there’s always somewhere else you can try to publish it!
• We all got into this line of work because we wanted to make things better – it’s easy to lose sight of that but it’s important to remember!