An ethnographic study of Black Ugandan British parents’ experiences of supporting their children’s learning within their home environments

Musoke, Waliah Nalukwago (2016) An ethnographic study of Black Ugandan British parents’ experiences of supporting their children’s learning within their home environments. Doctoral thesis, London Metropolitan University.


This ethnographic study explored how Black Ugandan British parents support their children’s learning in England. It is important to study this group because the parents in this study are Black migrants from Uganda and have an asylum seeking background, thus adding to our knowledge of asylum seeking and education. Moreover, little attention has been paid to this particular group before. The study comprises ten Black Ugandan British families with refugee and asylum-seeking backgrounds in two London boroughs. Adopting an ethnographic and an interpretive approach allowed me to explore how Black Ugandan British parents supported their children’s education over time through data collected via long-term interactions, observations and semi-structured interviews with the ten families in their natural home environment settings.

I adopted Yosso’s concept of community cultural wealth to analyse data from my study and the data was theorised using Critical Race Theory. Through this theoretical framework, I challenge the traditional interpretations of cultural capital, particularly in relation to educational support or provision, by highlighting various and different forms of capital Black Ugandan British parents use to support their children’s learning, which are unknown. This thesis contributes to knowledge by highlighting the different nature of parental educational support, educational strategies and the underlying factors that inform Black Ugandan British parents’ nature of parental educational support and educational strategies. I argue that Black Ugandan British parents’ culturalistic approach towards their children’s education within their homes and communities and additionally, the contribution they make towards their children’s learning are unrecognised in English schools and English education policy.

Further, this thesis highlights class complexities and contributes to debates on class. The study found that Black Ugandan British parents with middle class backgrounds from Uganda, but positioned as working class parents in the UK, bring their Ugandan middle class backgrounds to supporting their children’s education in the UK, which calls for the need to understand Black Ugandan British parents’ middle class backgrounds and the influence they have on their ways of supporting their children’s education. My study shows that Black Ugandan British parents’ cultural, employment, educational and class backgrounds have a huge influence on how they support their children’s education. My study illuminates how class, ethnicity and culture shape Black British Ugandan children’s learning, and makes an original and important contribution to knowledge in this field.

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