The article analyses the findings of a small-scale qualitative study in Ireland that examines interactions between asylum-seeking mothers and primary school teachers, and highlights the significance of teachers’ understandings of asylum in shaping home-school communications. Mothers and children in this study were living in Direct Provision, collective accommodation for asylum seekers in Ireland. The research identifies a number of concerns including: poor communication between the school and mothers, only English being used as a medium of communication with the mothers, and mothers being directly and indirectly excluded from Parent Associations. Interactions of teachers with asylum-seeker mothers demonstrated a lack of recognition that their situation is different from other migrants/newcomers and is particularly challenging because of the because of living in Direct Provision and under the threat of deportation. The research shows that primary schools are drawn into ambiguous relationships with asylum-seeking mothers in their attempts at advocacy and surveillance, as they are expected to facilitate integration, while at the same time dealing with the uncertainty facing asylum-seeking parents and children.

DOI: 10.1080/13613324.2016.1248827
ISSN: 1361-3324