Family Learning

Family Learning
Susan Doherty
Development Officer Family Learning
Education Scotland
Children spend approximately 15% of
their waking hours in school, which leaves
85% spent at home, with huge potential
for learning. For many adults a family
learning course can be the first step to
taking up further adult learning and
training opportunities or gaining a job. For
children, this can have an impact on
attainment and their learning journey.
Effects of parents/effects of schools
parent/school effects
Age 7
Age 11
Age 16
From Sacker et al 2002
So...What is Family Learning?
Family learning is a powerful method of learning
which can challenge educational disadvantage,
promote socio-economic resilience and foster
positive attitudes towards life-long learning.
How do we know this?
• “What parents do with their children at home
through the age range, is much more
significant than any other factor open to
educational influence.”
• Professor Charles Desforges: The Impact of Parental Involvement, Parental
Support and Family Education on Pupil Achievements and Adjustment: A
Literature Review
• "The idea that parents need to be literate and
that through the intergenerational transfer of
skills and attitudes, the parents' education can
influence the subsequent educational
achievement of their children, is a
foundational belief of contemporary family
learning programmes.“
• Dr Tom Sticht: Towards a Multiple Life Cycles Education Policy (2007)
Types of Family Learning Groups
Family Literacies Projects – supporting the individual needs of the parents to
support those of the child.
– Usually in partnership with Nurseries or schools.
Family Learning with Creativity – using artists, Heritage sites and Museum and
Managing children's behaviour – classes primarily for parents gaining skills to
communicate more effectively. (Mellow Parenting)
Family Nurturing Projects – looking at new mums and dads and how they
interact effectively with their child (Solihull Approach, Barnardos)
Families Learning for Health & Wellbeing – projects looking at healthy food at
affordable prices.
ESOL Family Learning
Family Learning for Fathers – engagement of fraternal figure within the home.
– This can be with the grandfather, uncle, dad or whoever is the fraternal figure in the child's
Who is delivering Family Learning?
Voluntary Sector
Schools (Nursery-High School)
Private Sector
Social Work
Early Years Practitioners
Partnerships are key to providing a holistic, universal
and sustainable approach to working with families.
Policy Links
GIRFEC – Getting it right for every child
WALT – Working and Learning together to build stronger Communities.
Parental Involvement Act
National Parenting Strategy
ALiS 2020 - Adult Literacies in Scotland
Early Years Framework
Adult ESOL strategy
Embedding Core Skills into Family
Learning Groups
Embedding Core Skills into Family Learning Programmes
Key Outcomes
• Parents will improve literacies and core skills and
have the opportunity to have their achievements
recognised through SQA accreditation in core skills.
• Increased parental confidence through the
programme and the modelling of more effective
communication skills will have a positive influence on
their children’s attitude to learning which in turn will
enhance the learning of the whole family.
• Parents will have increased confidence in their
literacy skills to take on further learning, which in
turn will benefit the whole family.
• Can this be used for ESOL practitioners in it’s present
• If it needs to be changed, would that be to the
original document, or would an accompanying
document need to be written?
• Thinking of your own organization, groups and
learners, is this something that you would use?