logo logo European Journal of Psychology and Educational Research

EJPER is is a, peer reviewed, online academic research journal.

Subscribe to

Receive Email Alerts

for special events, calls for papers, and professional development opportunities.


Publisher (HQ)

Eurasian Society of Educational Research
Eurasian Society of Educational Research
Christiaan Huygensstraat 44, Zipcode:7533XB, Enschede, THE NETHERLANDS
Eurasian Society of Educational Research
Christiaan Huygensstraat 44, Zipcode:7533XB, Enschede, THE NETHERLANDS
education inequality home learning parental involvement

Inequality in Parent Involvement in Children's Education During Covid-19

Dimitra Hartas

This study used the COVID Social Mobility and Opportunities (COSMO) Study to examine home learning and parent attitudes to education during Covid-19 i.


This study used the COVID Social Mobility and Opportunities (COSMO) Study to examine home learning and parent attitudes to education during Covid-19 in relation to demographic and household financial circumstances and parent educational aspirations. The findings showed that White, female, and degree-educated parents were more likely than their counterparts to report positive attitudes to home learning, support their 16-year-olds’ learning, and contact schools during the lockdowns. Parents who experienced food poverty and reported being financially worse off after the pandemic were less likely to support home learning or contact schools but reported largely positive attitudes to learning. Also, parents who reported lower educational aspirations were more likely to support their children’s learning, reflecting their educational needs. This study contributes to our understanding of home learning during the pandemic and has implications for public policy and action regarding supporting children’s learning during health crises and reducing education inequalities.

Keywords: Education inequality, home learning, parental involvement.

cloud_download PDF
Article Metrics


Adali, T., Anders, J., Calderwood, L., Cullinane, C., Hamlyn, B., Kennett, J., & Xu, D. (2023). COVID Social Mobility and Opportunities study (COSMO): Wave 1 User Guide (Version 2). UCL Centre for Longitudinal Studies and UCL Centre for Education Policy and Equalising Opportunities. https://bit.ly/3RNWDNr

Alon, T., Doepke, M., Olmstead-Rumsey, J., & Tertilt, M. (2020). The impact of COVID-19 on gender equality (Working paper no 26947). National Bureau of Economic Research. https://doi.org/10.3386/w26947

Anand, K., Shah, B., Yadav, K., Singh, R., Mathur, P., Paul, E., & Kapoor, S. K. (2007). Are the urban poor vulnerable to non-communicable diseases? A survey of risk factors for non-communicable diseases in urban slums of Faridabad. National Medical Journal of India20(3), 115-120.

Andrew, A., Cattan, S., Costa Dias, M., Farquharson, C., Kraftman, L., Krutikova, S., Phimister, A., & Sevilla, A. (2020). Inequalities in children’s experiences of home learning during the COVID-19 lockdown in England. Fiscal Studies, 41(3), 653-683. https://doi.org/10.1111/1475-5890.12240

Archer, L. (2008). The impossibility of minority ethnic educational ‘success’? An examination of the discourses of teachers and pupils in British secondary schools. European Educational Research Journal, 7(1), 89-107. https://doi.org/10.2304/eerj.2008.7.1.89

Archer, L., DeWitt, J., & Willis, B. (2014). Adolescent boys' science aspirations: Masculinity, capital, and power. Journal of Research in Science Teaching51(1), 1-30. https://doi.org/10.1002/tea.21122

Armitage, R., & Nellums, L. B. (2020). Considering inequalities in the school closure response to COVID-19. The Lancet Global Health8(5), Article e644. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2214-109X(20)30116-9

Axford, N., Berry, V., Lloyd, J., Moore, D., Rogers, M., Hurst, A., Blockley, K., Durkin, H., & Minton, J. (2019). How can schools support parents’ engagement in their children’s learning? Evidence from research and practice. Education Endowment Foundation.  https://bit.ly/4ctBZus

Azevedo, J. P., Hasan, A., Goldemberg, D., Geven, K., & Iqbal, S. A. (2020). Simulating the potential impacts of COVID19 school closures on schooling and learning outcomes: A set of global estimates (Policy research working papers 9284). World Bank. https://bit.ly/4cGoN51

Barbour, L., Eisenstadt, N., Goodall, J., Sylva, K., & Jelley, F. (2018). Parental engagement fund. Sutton Trust. https://bit.ly/4biO97T

Bayrakdar, S., & Guveli, A. (2023). Inequalities in home learning and schools’ provision of distance teaching during school closure of COVID-19 lockdown in the UK. Sociology, 57(4), 767-788. https://doi.org/10.1177/00380385221122444

Bennett, C., & Keyes, O. (2020). What is the point of fairness? Interactions27(3), 35-39. https://doi.org/10.1145/3386383

Bol, T. (2020). Inequality in homeschooling during the Corona crisis in the Netherlands. First results from the LISS Panel. SocArXiv. https://osf.io/preprints/socarxiv/hf32q

Cabral-Gouveia, C., Menezes, I., & Neves, T. (2023). Educational strategies to reduce the achievement gap: A systematic review. Frontiers in Education, 8, Article 1155741. https://doi.org/10.3389/feduc.2023.1155741

Clay, L. A., & Rogus, S. (2021). Impact of employment, essential work, and risk factors on food access during the COVID-19 pandemic in New York State. International Journal of Environment Research and Public Health, 18(4), Article 1451. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18041451

Crozier, G., & Davies, J. (2007). Hard to reach parents or hard to reach schools? A discussion of home-school relations, with particular reference to Bangladeshi and Pakistani parents. British Educational Research Journal, 33(3), 295-313. https://doi.org/10.1080/01411920701243578

Crozier, G., Reay, D., & James, D. (2011). Making it work for their children: white middle-class parents and working-class schools. International Studies in Sociology of Education, 21(3), 199–216. https://doi.org/10.1080/09620214.2011.616343

Cullinane, C., & Montacute, R. (2020, April). COVID-19 and social mobility impact brief# 1: School closures. The Sutton Trust. https://bit.ly/45Ez1QZ

Demie, F., & Mclean, C. (2015). Tackling disadvantage: What works in narrowing the achievement gap in schools. Review of Education, 3(2), 138-174. https://doi.org/10.1002/rev3.3052

Department for Education. (2019). Early career framework. https://bit.ly/3RFEdhN

Department for Education. (2022). Opportunity for all – strong schools with great teachers for your child. https://bit.ly/3xHvQM0

Desforges, C., & Abouchaar, A. (2003). The impact of parental involvement, parental support and family education on pupil achievement and adjustment: A literature review (Research report RR433). Department for Education and Skills. https://bit.ly/4blBCk2

Dietrichson, J., Bøg, M., Filges, T., & Klint Jørgensen, A.-M. (2017). Academic interventions for elementary and middle school students with low socioeconomic status: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Review of Educational Research, 87(2), 243-282. https://doi.org/10.3102/0034654316687036

Domina, T., Renzulli, L., Murray, B.., Garza, A. N., & Perez, L. (2021). Remote or removed: Predicting successful engagement with online learning during COVID-19. Socius7, 1-15. https://doi.org/10.1177/2378023120988200

Drewnowski, A. (2022). Food insecurity has economic root causes. Nature Food, 3, 555-556. https://doi.org/10.1038/s43016-022-00577-w

Epstein, J. L. (1995). School/ family/ community partnerships: Caring for the children we share. Phi Delta Kappan, 76(9), 701-712.  

Epstein, J. L. (2001). Building bridges of home, school, and community: The importance of design. Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk, 6(1-2), 161-168. https://doi.org/10.1207/S15327671ESPR0601-2_10

Food Foundation. (2022, February 7). New data shows food insecurity major challenge to levelling up agenda. https://bit.ly/3XxCUFh

Forbes, L. K., Lamar, M. R., Speciale, M., & Donovan, C. (2022). Mothers’ and fathers’ parenting attitudes during COVID-19. Current Psychology, 41, 470-479. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12144-021-01605-x

Goodall, J. (2021). Parental engagement and deficit discourses: Absolving the system and solving parents. Educational Review73(1), 98-110. https://doi.org/10.1080/00131911.2018.1559801

Gregg, P., & Washbrook, E. (2011). The role of attitudes and behaviours in explaining socio-economic differences in attainment at age 11. Longitudinal and Life Course Studies, 2(1), 41-58. https://doi.org/10.14301/llcs.v2i1.142

Griffith, A. K. (2022). Parental burnout and child maltreatment during the COVID-19 pandemicJournal of Family Violence, 37, 725-731. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10896-020-00172-2

Haberman, M. (2010). The pedagogy of poverty versus good teaching. Phi Delta Kappan, 92(2), 81-87. https://doi.org/10.1177/003172171009200223

Hartas, D. (2011). Families’ social backgrounds matter: Socio‐economic factors, home learning and young children's language, literacy and social outcomes. British Educational Research Journal, 37(6), 893-914. https://doi.org/10.1080/01411926.2010.506945

Hartas, D. (2012). Inequality and the home learning environment: Predictions about seven-year-olds’ language and literacy. British Educational Research Journal38(5), 859-879. doi.org/10.1080/01411926.2011.588315

Hartas, D. (2014). Parenting, family policy and children's well-being in an unequal society: A new culture war for parents. Springer. https://doi.org/10.1057/9781137319555

Harris, A., & Goodall, J. (2008). Do parents know they matter? Engaging all parents in learning. Educational research, 50(3), 277-289. https://doi.org/10.1080/00131880802309424

Hays, S. (1998). The cultural contradictions of motherhood. Yale University Press.

Karpman, M., Gonzalez, D., & Kenney, G. M. (2020). Parents are struggling to provide for their families during the pandemic. Urban Institute.

Kirzinger, A., Hamel, L., Munana, C., Kearney, A., & Brodie, M. (2020, April 24). KFF Health Tracking Poll - Late April 2020: Coronavirus, social distancing, and contact tracing. KFF. https://bit.ly/3RGcu0i

Lareau, A. (2018). Unequal childhoods: Class, race, and family life. In Inequality in the 21st Century (pp. 444-451). Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780429499821-75

Lee, J.-S., & Bowen, N. K. (2006). Parent involvement, cultural capital, and the achievement gap among elementary school children. American Educational Research Journal, 43(2), 193-218. https://doi.org/10.3102/00028312043002193

Lehrl, S., Evangelou, M., & Sammons, P. (2020). The home learning environment and its role in shaping children’s educational development. School Effectiveness and School Improvement, 31(1), 1-6. https://doi.org/10.1080/09243453.2020.1693487

Lewis, H. (2020, March 19). The coronavirus is a disaster for feminism: Pandemics affect men and women differently. The Atlantic. https://bit.ly/3KUDlSv

Mezzina, R., Gopikumar, V., Jenkins, J., Saraceno, B., & Sashidharan, S. P. (2022). Social vulnerability and mental health inequalities in the “Syndemic”: Call for action. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 13, Article 894370. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2022.894370

Minello, A. (2020, April 17). The pandemic and the female academic. Nature. https://doi.org/10.1038/d41586-020-01135-9

Mongey, S., Pilossoph, L., & Weinberg, A. (2021). Which workers bear the burden of social distancing? The Journal of Economic Inequality, 19, 509-526. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10888-021-09487-6

Moses, K., Van Stratton, J. E., & Anaple, A. (2023). Self-management interventions for atrisk and low-income students: A systematic review. Behavior and Social Issues, 32, 191-209. https://doi.org/10.1007/s42822-023-00125-6

Niles, M. T., Bertmann, F., Belarmino, E. H., Wentworth, T., Biehl, E., & Neff, R. (2020). The early food insecurity impacts of COVID-19. Nutrients, 12(7), Article 2096. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12072096

Ofsted. (2019). Further education and skills inspection handbook. https://bit.ly/4cxldtJ

Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. (2023). PISA 2022 Results (Volume I): The State of Learning and Equity in Education, PISA. OECD iLibrary. https://doi.org/10.1787/53f23881-en

Paslakis, G., Dimitropoulos, G., & Katzman, D. K. (2021). A call to action to address COVID-19-induced global food insecurity to prevent hunger, malnutrition, and eating pathology. Nutrition Review, 79(1), 114-116. https://doi.org/10.1093/nutrit/nuaa069

Peters, D. H., Garg, A., Bloom, G., Walker, D. G., Brieger, W. R., & Rahman, M. H. (2008). Poverty and access to health care in developing countries. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1136(1), 161-171. https://doi.org/10.1196/annals.1425.011

Petts, R. J., Carlson, D. L., & Knoester, C. (2020). If I [take] leave, will you stay? Paternity leave and relationship stability. Journal of Social Policy49(4), 829-849. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0047279419000928

Platt, L., & Warwick, R. (2020, May 1). Are some ethnic groups more vulnerable to COVID-19 than others? IFS Deacon Review. https://bit.ly/4blVmUx

Power, M., Doherty, B., Pybus, K. J., & Pickett, K. E. (2023). How Covid-19 has exposed inequalities in the UK food system: The case of UK food and poverty. Emerald Open Research, 1(10), 1-30. https://doi.org/10.1108/EOR-10-2023-0003

Sammons, P., Toth, K., Sylva, K., Melhuish, E., Siraj, I., & Taggart, B. (2015). The long-term role of the home learning environment in shaping students’ academic attainment in secondary school. Journal of Children’s Services, 10(3), 189-201. https://doi.org/10.1108/JCS-02-2015-0007

Sullivan, A., Joshi, H., Ketende, S., & Obolenskaya, P. (2010). The consequences at age 7 of early childhood disadvantage in Northern Ireland and Great Britain. Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister. https://bit.ly/3xlBl2O

Sylva, K., Siraj-Blatchford, I., & Taggart, B. (2003). Assessing quality in the early years: Early childhood environment rating scale: Extension (ECERS-E), four curricular subscales. Trentham Books.

Toran, M., Sak, R., Xu, Y., Şahin-Sak, İ. T., & Yu, Y. (2021). Parents and children during the COVID-19 quarantine process: Experiences from Turkey and China. Journal of Early Childhood Research, 19(1), 21-39. https://doi.org/10.1177/1476718X20977583

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. (2020). School reopening. UNESCO UNESDOC. https://bit.ly/4eDaBf0

Vigevano, L., & Mattei, P. (2023). The challenges of distance learning in Italy: New inequalities and implications for inclusive education. International Journal of Inclusive Education. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1080/13603116.2023.2266718

Viner, R. M., Russell, S. J., Croker, H., Packer, J., Ward, J., Stansfield, C., Mytton, O., Bonell, C., & Booy, R. (2020). School closure and management practices during coronavirus outbreaks including COVID-19: a rapid systematic review. The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health, 4(5), 397-404. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2352-4642(20)30095-X   

Vizard, P., & Hills, J. (2021, February 22). The conservative governments’ record on social policy from May 2015 to pre-COVID 2020: Policies, spending and outcomes. CASE (Centre for analysis of Social Exclusion). https://bit.ly/3zbqtVv

Wenham, C., Smith, J., & Morgan, R. (2020). Covid-19 is an opportunity for gender equality within the workplace and at home. British Medical Journal369, Article m1546. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.m1546

Williams, J. M., Greenleaf, A. T., Barnes, E. F., & Scott, T. R. (2019). High-achieving, low income students’ perspectives of how schools can promote the academic achievement of students living in poverty. Improving Schools, 22(3), 224-236. https://doi.org/10.1177/1365480218821501

Wilson, S., & McGuire, K. (2021). ‘They’d already made their minds up’: Understanding the impact of stigma on parental engagement. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 42(5-6), 775-791. https://doi.org/10.1080/01425692.2021.1908115

Wolfson, J. A., & Leung, C. W. (2020). Food insecurity and COVID-19: Disparities in early effects for US adults. Nutrients12(6), Article 1648. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12061648