Newcastle Family Learning encourages parents, carers and family members to develop the skills that they need to support their child’s development in, literacy, language and numeracy and wider skills whilst raising awareness of the benefits of parents and children working together. It also aims to support and develop learner’s own skills in the above areas.
Family Literacy, Language and Numeracy (FLLN) courses are funded by the Skills Funding Agency (SFA) and are delivered in partnership with schools, children’s centres and community settings.
This case study relates to a 60 hour joint Family Finance course entitled “Money makes the world go around”. The format for this programme was that parents work with a Family Learning tutor whilst their children work in a small group facilitated by a teacher. The context of what is delivered to parents is the vehicle for delivering Skills for Life numeracy outcomes.
The course was designed to introduce parents, carers and family members and their Reception-aged children to varied aspects of everyday finance and health relevant to their everyday requirements and challenges.
The course aimed:
- to enable parents and carers to make decisions (financial, healthy and ethical) based on informed choices
- to encourage adults to become involved in supporting their child with financial skills
- to meet ECM (Every Child Matters) outcomes, particularly ‘achieve economic well being’, ‘stay healthy’ and ‘enjoy and achieve’
- to embed equality and diversity.
- to gain information and skills on how to provide a healthy balanced life for learners and their family
- to use money concepts in every day life
- for the learners to revise known numeracy skills and to learn new numeracy skills.
This was achieved through:
- informally embedding numeracy skills within the programme
- discussion – sharing personal experiences and knowledge
- making informed choices – financial, healthy and ethical
- having fun – incorporating games and kinaesthetic activities
- budgeting – skills for the learner and their child
- ECM – activities designed to include the five outcomes
- ICT – encouraging use of ‘moneywise’ sites
- encouraging aspiration – achievement through accreditation
The course took place in a primary school in the West End of Newcastle upon Tyne; a recognised area of deprivation in the city. Parents, carers and family members were from a range of ethnic backgrounds and had a range of educational and life experiences. Learners presented at Entry Level 2 and 3 with some working towards Level 1 in numeracy.
- Educational visit
Learners participated in a budgeting activity which involved planning an educational visit. This required learners to use the internet to investigate a number of possible destinations – checking opening times, attractions on offer, considering value for money, distance to travel, safety and entrance costs.
Learners also phoned council approved transport companies to check for availability and prices. Learners worked together and made decisions that that were acceptable to all involved and within the set budget.
- Money saving on shopping
Learners were asked to plan five days of family meals within a set budget of £50. They then accessed internet supermarket comparison websites to find the best individual prices and total bills.
Learners also made a tomato sauce from fresh ingredients and took part in a blind tasting with a ready-made sauce. They all preferred the home made sauce which was also found to be cheaper!
The above activities embedded the literacy and numeracy core curriculum outcomes and encouraged learners to develop their own literacy and numeracy skills.
The joint sessions involved learners' children from Reception class. Many activities were based upon the stories ‘Oliver’s Vegetables’ and ‘Oliver’s Milkshake’. Children took part in role play fruit and vegetable shops, made and tasted milkshake and smoothies and made puppets and games.
Children were supported in making and decorating money boxes, budgeted for and chose bedroom accessories, made purses and pictures out of money.
Managing debt and making a variety of savings were also strong themes throughout the course.
Family learning worked in partnership with PFEG, CAB, the school PSA and New Pathways.
This course attracted eight learners including one father. Learners achieved Level 1 and Entry Level 3 Numeracy accreditation. Four learners later found work. In particular, one learner accessed further information with support from the tutor and the CAB on starting a small business. She now owns and runs a mobile catering unit.
Learner enjoyment and satisfaction
Learners' answers to the question: “What did you particularly enjoy about the course?”
- how to read and understand food labels
- how to budget
- working with (name of child)…..and all of the activities
- the fun activities with the children
- I enjoyed the visit from the CAB and the trips we went on. I liked that we got to play some fun games and we made nice things like piggy banks and fruit necklaces.
All of the children were assessed using the foundation stage profile levels in the following areas of numeracy; numbers as labels, calculating, Shape, space and measure. All children made progress in some or all of these areas.
The summary from the school includes the following extracts
- Impact on confidence, self esteem and concentration
“The children have developed their mathematical ideas and can now use simple methods to solve practical problems.” “The children are able to talk about and draw on their own experiences of money. The whole group of children is now able to identify all of the coins that they use. The more able children can use the lower value coins in simple shopping problems.”
- Impact on literacy, language and communication skills
“The children are much better when interacting with each other… During the games the children have worked as part of a group, taking turns and sharing fairly.”
- Please give details of how this programme contributes to raising attainment in school in relation to your development plan
“The School Development Plan aims to raise standards in Numeracy across the school. By attending the course the parents have gained knowledge of how to help their children in the use of money, and have been encouraged to let the children handle money when shopping with them.” “The opportunity for the children to work in a small group has greatly benefitted their progress.”
This model has proved to be workable, resulting in good achievement of parents skills/accreditation and was well received by the school.
This model will be replicated in other school settings.