Despite the rhetoric of ‘we are all in this together’ during the COVID-19 pandemic, not all families experienced schooling disruption in 2020–2022 equally. Middle-class parents typically enjoy significant advantage over parents in working-class occupations. To illuminate class-based differences in parental engagement during the COVID-19 pandemic, here we present data from interviews with 15 middle-class Canadian parents. We found that middle-class parents successfully mobilized their economic, social, and cultural capital to manage challenges they faced: lack of structure and routine, lack of communication with the school, perceived low quality of instruction and resources, student isolation during online learning, and parental stress about children’s schooling during the pandemic. The main implication of the study is that although middle-class parents in the study acknowledged their privilege more compared to prior research on middle-class parental engagement, ultimately, their individual solutions to pandemic challenges merely exacerbated existing social inequalities in education.


This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way. The terms on which this article has been published allow the posting of the Accepted Manuscript in a repository by the author(s) or with their consent.

Cite as

Antony-Newman, M., Niyozov, S. & Pashchenko, K. 2023, 'Middle-class parental engagement in pandemic times: Developing strategies and mobilizing capitals', British Journal of Sociology of Education. https://doi.org/10.1080/01425692.2023.2294687

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Last updated: 22 January 2024
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