Are parents across the four nations of the United Kingdom (UK) expected to participate in education systems where all but the most privileged are disempowered and pathologised? This chapter argues that this is the case. This worrying contemporary positioning of parents as they engage with schools and education is foregrounded in legislative and political history, research trends and new research directions that are specific to the UK. The chapter charts the divergence between England and the devolved nations of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland in policies concerning parental engagement and involvement in education. It also reveals commonalities between the nations in contemporary political educational agendas and, therein, the expectations placed upon parents in respect of their involvement with their children’s learning. The differences and similarities are scrutinised in the context of educational and sociological research, which reveals that the enactment of policy through practice and the lived experiences of parents suggest a worrying culture of exclusion and inequality in which many are both disadvantaged and marginalised.