No Image Available


Read more from TrainingZone

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1705321608055-0’); });

‘Working with Parents’ edited by Ann Wheal


Working with Parents: learning from other people’s experience
Edited by Ann Wheal
Publisher: Russell House Publishing Ltd
Date of Publication: 2000.
ISBN: 1-898924-59-7
Price: £16.95 plus £1.50 delivery.

This book arrived at my house just as I was leaving for a holiday in Mauritius so I shoved it into my bag with the intention of reading it on the beaches overlooking the Indian Ocean. Not your usual holiday reading I admit but all the same being totally relaxed and free from the usual distractions I thought I would be able to give it a fair crack so to speak.

The book has the appearance of a typical ‘reference’ from the shelves of any educational institution in England. The cover is plain and uninspiring. The price is average for a softback containing 212 pages and there are no pictures.

It comprises a collection of 17 essays, each forming a chapter, by individuals that are involved professionally with working with parents. The authors come from a wide spectrum including Social Workers, Teachers, Probation Officers, Youth Care Workers and Academics. Each chapter is restricted to a handful of pages and can be easily read in isolation. As you may imagine I delved in and out of the book reading the odd chapter when watersports and touring the island permitted and I felt I lost nothing of the flavour of the book by doing this. The publishers recommend that the way the chapters are written lends itself to the reading of individual chapters but urge you to read the whole book I feel it would be a very dry experience if you did.

Each chapter is very different to the next and I envisage you reading only those chapters that have relevance to your own background. In my own case I am a father of three teenage boys, Chairman of Governors of a large Comprehensive School and have been a Police Officer for the last 26 years. I am also a qualified teacher so I have some experience of working with parents. The authors recommend that the book "will be useful for anyone studying or working with parents in the areas of health, education, social care, child care law, the police and youth justice" and I admit to being disappointed that there was in fact no contribution from the police in the book.

Several of the contributors are over cautious in their writing so as not to offend a particular agency, such as Social Services. I found the first chapter particularly frustrating as the author chose to write about an ‘intervention’ within his own family but didn’t wish to say what the intervention was. This annoyed me and could have easily prevented me from reading any further! Chapter two by Ann Buchanan "You’re walking on Eggs" rescued the book for me and should, I think, have been chapter one.

At the front of the book there is a potted history of the 34 people who have contributed and I found this useful to refer back to before reading each chapter. At the end there is a list of useful contacts such as family organisations. There is a concluding chapter written by Hazel Osborn that could very usefully be read as a forward instead of a conclusion, it is a good guide to what the book is about and has plenty of links into the actual chapters. The useful shelf life of this publication may be questionable, as is any publication of this type, for often the editing of the individual contributions takes so long as to make the book out of date before it is published. Hazel Osborn observes in her concluding remarks that " the perceptive reader will identify many gaps and avenues left unexplored" and I feel that many of the chapters will make you think but few will provide any answers.

Stephen P Radburn BSc
Police Training Consultant


Get the latest from TrainingZone.

Elevate your L&D expertise by subscribing to TrainingZone’s newsletter! Get curated insights, premium reports, and event updates from industry leaders.


Thank you!