Competing conceptualizations of the relationship between parents and schools reflect different views of, among other things, the roles, rights and responsibilities of parents, the conditions under which schools will work most effectively, the professionalism or otherwise of teachers and the circumstances in which children’s learning most effectively takes place. The concern of this chapter is to review something of this range of competing conceptualizations. In particular it will focus on parents as puzzled bystanders; supporters; partners; governors; coeducators and customers. The chapter will discuss the evidence and arguments adduced in support of some of these different roles in the context of changing policy and expectations in education in England and Wales since the publication of the Plowden Report in 1967.