The Home, School, Community Liaison Programme was introduced in 1992 in an attempt to deliver a multiagency approach to combat educational disadvantage. Sociologists and educationalists including Pierre Bourdieu (1977) Paulo Freire (1998) have published widely on the area of educational disadvantage. Bourdieu suggests that the education system generally only recognises those children who identify with the language and codes of the dominant classes. Freire suggests that cultural differences exist between teachers and children but a socialisation process occurs over time, thus cultural and class differences must still be accepted and not used as a means of alienating children from marginalised backgrounds.
This paper analyses the experiences of those working within the HSCL’s delivery and their interactions with other teachers, parents and community partners. I suggest that despite the focus of the Programme being upon breaking down social barriers between schools and families, the policy faces significant challenges within the area of promoting a school-wide approach. Interview findings suggest that teachers focus on teaching their given subjects and very often do not understand the problems pertaining to poverty and inequality, which concurs with the thoughts of Bourdieu (1977). This brings into question the changing role of the teacher. Hence, We argue that the Programme requires new dimensions in teaching with a responsibility for pedagogy, emotional counselling, welfare protection and community liaison duties required which creates a problematical working environment. We conclude by asserting that such challenges have led to ambiguity within interpretation, practice and measurement of success within the HSCL.