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Internationally, major policy reforms seek to deepen parent and community engagement in schools. Whilst pervasive in policy documents, however, discourses surrounding ‘parent engagement’ are often elastic and imprecise, ultimately gaining meaning through the technologies of governance that shape policy enactments in schools. In this paper, we argue that contemporary schooling reforms are constructing a new ‘governing parent-citizen’ through which the parental labour of social reproduction is being extended, valorised and rearticulated. We examine how one major reform movement in Australia is articulating new roles for parents and community members in schools: the Independent Public Schools (IPS) initiative in Western Australia. Our analysis demonstrates the intensive policy intervention required to produce this new form of parental labour and the subsequent divisions of labour it is producing.
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