Are you a head teacher, mathematics coordinator or head of department who would like to explore the possibilities that Family Learning can provide?
This short report is presented to help head teachers and other school leaders engage with Family Learning and the benefits and opportunities it offers for pupils, parents/carers, teachers, schools and the wider community.
Background research and information, useful links and a selection of case studies of successful practice across both primary and secondary have been gathered to support and guide you in reviewing provision.
Ofsted (July 2009) evaluated the benefits of family learning for participants, their families and the wider community and their findings from the survey included:
- Family learning programmes had a considerable impact on the achievements of both children and adults.
- Where providers had begun to monitor each child’s progress there were early, but clear, indications of improved progress and attainment following family learning intervention.
Good partnerships, team teaching and consultation with parents were central to effective delivery. The contributions of parent support advisers, family and health workers, mentors and school class teachers to family learning sessions were invaluable. Parent support advisers were helpful in building supportive links with parents as their children started school, and in providing individual support to help them participate in family learning sessions. All of the providers sampled deployed a wide range of support strategies to make provision accessible to targeted groups. However, approximately three quarters of the 23 local authorities and adult and community learning providers visited were concerned that funding did not always recognise the high costs of work with vulnerable groups.
One of the recommendations of the Ofsted report is that:
- The Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) should promote the benefits of family learning to head teachers as a core school activity, and maximise the resources available in children’s centres.
Research led by the ‘Specialist Schools and Academies Trust’ in conjunction with the ‘Association of School and College Leaders’ titled ‘Engaging Parents in Raising Achievement Do Parents Know They Matter?’ (2007), found that:
- Parental engagement is a powerful lever for raising achievement in schools. Where parents and teachers work together to improve learning, the gains in achievement are significant.
- Parents have the greatest influence on the achievement of young people through supporting their learning in the home rather than supporting activities in the school. It is their support of learning within the home environment that makes the maximum difference to achievement.
There are many different organisations that provide further sources of information on projects, research, resources and initiatives relating to Family Learning such as
- Understanding progress in mathematics: a guide for parents supports schools in dialogue with parents about their child’s progress.
- Secondary mathematics parents’ pilot pack which contains a report and recommendations from the National Strategies’ Parents' Pilot Project in secondary mathematics.
- National Family Learning Network is an alliance of leading family learning organisations creating a support network for practitioners working with families.
- Family Learning Impact Funding has been used in the North East to raise the profile of numeracy, encourage engagement in numeracy activities and increase the number of well qualified specialist Mathematics (Numeracy) teachers. Family Learning Impact Funding materials are available.
- Family Financial Capability programmes are intended to influence financial attitudes, behaviours and decision-making within families.
- The National Institute of Adult Continuing Education(NIACE) provides publications, reports, courses and materials relating to Family Learning.