01904 554277 york.learning@york.gov.uk

“Evidence shows that the quality of the home learning environment is a key predictor of a child’s future – what parents do is just as important as who they are.”

Improving the home learning environment, National Literacy Trust, Nov 2018

Are you a parent, grandparent or carer who wants to support a child’s learning?
Are phonics and maths a mystery to you?
Are you unsure of modern methods and puzzling over your child’s homework?
Did you miss out on qualifications yourself and want to get your confidence back to develop your own skills, maybe get a qualification or two and think about your own future? (It’s never too late!)
Maybe you want to volunteer or work in a school or pre-school setting but don’t know where to start.

Then our free* Family Learning courses are just what you need!

*subject to eligibility.


Our Family Learning courses are currently running online via Zoom, but we hope to get back to face to face workshops and classes in the Autumn term. We know how much you love those coffee and chats!

Family Learning – for people like you!

“Home schooling” has been top of the agenda recently but really, home learning has always been important! Even in “normal times”, children spend less than 20% of their waking hours at pre-school settings or school. Everything you can do as a parent, carer or grandparent to support their learning and development in those first few years of their life and at school will give them a real advantage.

Not sure where to start? Don’t know enough about how children are taught? Didn’t do well at school yourself? You are exactly who these courses are for!

Remember, that as parents, carers and grandparents, you are experts too. Join one of our friendly groups, and together we can share a whole range of resources and ideas around children’s learning to help them through vitally important early years and get them off to a great start at school.

One of the things Family Learning does best is take you on a journey.  Many people come along to find out how children are taught at school, for instance in maths, and then go on to gain an adult maths qualification for themselves – so don’t worry if you missed out at school – it’s never to late!

In the classes, whether face to face or online, you’ll be guided by an experienced adult tutor to share ideas with other learners and learn at a relaxed pace. You’ll make resources and talk about activities to try out at home and you’ll build confidence to help guide your child and speak to their school or setting about their progress. Many of our learners have gone on to volunteer and work in schools and early years settings, along with a host of other jobs. We’re with you all the way!

Family Learning … because learning together is fun!

The Background: The Family Learning team has been working in York for nearly 25 years. Whilst our courses have evolved to meet local and national priorities over the years, you can be assured that we’re in it for the long haul!

The team is made up of qualified teachers, with up to date primary and early years knowledge, experienced support staff, and a manager with many years experience of targeted outreach and community development.  We deliver workshops and courses across the city, in key areas, schools and community venues – and now online too – providing support for parents, grandparents and carers to build strong home learning environments for their children and to move on and achieve in their own lives too.

Evidence Based: Data collected both locally and nationally as well as numerous research projects have shown that Family Learning programmes have multiple impacts, on the adult learners, their children, their families and their communities.* which is why it’s so effective in raising aspirations and breaking cycles of disadvantage.

Course Development: We work with schools, pre-school teams, local area teams and other partners to identify local needs and develop workshops courses that support both the adult’s skills and knowledge and their children’s learning and development. At the same time, we work with our learners to recognise and develop their own skills, gaining confidence and in many cases qualifications for themselves.

How Does It Work? We are funded by central government, through the Adult Skills Budget, so all of our courses are FREE to eligible adults.  Our targets are to widen participation, break cycles of disadvantage and to increase the number of adults who have confidence, skills and qualifications in English and maths.  (Almost one third of adults don’t have English skills at level 2; in maths it’s over a half.  This means that our “target learners” are over half of the working age adult population.)

We know that all parents want what’s best for their kids – even if sometimes there are huge barriers to overcome which makes this very challenging – but having children is a great motivator for people to engage in learning – and why Family Learning is so successful. If you are reading this, you probably know families who may want or need just that little bit of additional support and, especially now, with social interactions restricted, we will really welcome referrals from schools, pre-school settings, local area and health teams, and partner organisations.

If you would like one of us to come along to talk to your team, please get in touch: fiona.himsworth@york.gov.uk

Together we can make a difference!

Our local offer is based on the EAST model:

Easy Courses are adapted to work with learners at a level they feel comfortable with, setting group and individual SMART targets, working collaboratively to achieve their aims. Progression pathways are planned so that learners are able to build on what they have learned and move on to higher level courses, including some with access to nationally recognised qualifications.
Accessible Our courses will all be delivered online in the autumn term using Zoom. We can support people to get started if necessary.
When it is possible, we will also run workshops and courses in early years settings, in schools, libraries and community venues, close to where people live, often with free childcare available, at times to fit in with school and nursery drop off and pick up times.
Sociable One of the best things about Family Learning is the connection between tutor and learners. We encourage our adult learners to share their learning experiences and tips, fully acknowledging the fact that parents are experts in their own right. Friendships made through Family Learning classes often remain long after the courses have finished.
Timely Our support is there when people need it at times in their lives when it matters to them, when they have young children or at key transition stages, for instance when a child starts primary school or when the adult is looking for employment or a change in career direction.
It was a lot of things really… just to get me out and to get qualifictions because I don’t have anything like that. Also, when my little girls go to the crèche it gives them more confidence. I always try and do homework with them and it’s kind of helped me to help them. I think it goes back to the confidence thing, talking to people, doing stuff… I’m doing Children’s Centre Advisory Board as well. I would never have thought I would do something like that years ago.
I'll be able to get myself a job
[Since doing my Family Learning course] I’ve been doing a Level 2 Business Admin course through York Learning. I’ve already passed two assignments for that, and I’m hoping to pass it by September so when my child goes to school full time I’ll be able to get myself a job.
"We did this at my mam's"
My youngest is chuffed and keeps telling me how proud he is. He’s coming on well now at school because I can help him at home with his reading and his English, and then he can go back to school and say “We did this at my mam’s”.
I got a job!
It’s given me a confidence boost. I ended up getting a job at Primark so obviously I’ll be working on the tills and that involves maths and (I’ll use my English) interacting with customers.
Going back to my roots
I’m doing a Level 2 WEA Helping in Schools course and then I’ll do Level 3 so I can be a TA and working a crèche and children’s centres or schools. I’m going to start college in September. I definitely wouldn’t have done any of this without going back to my roots and doing the Family Learning.
I did Keeping up with the children in maths and English with Family Learning and passed my Functional Skills qualifications at the same time as learning how children are taught in school and this has really helped me get a job as a Teaching Assistant, which I really enjoy.


If you are working with an out of work parent with children living at home who is low in confidence, anxious or isolated, we may be able to offer one to one support through one of our projects.


Get started with Zoom, access the internet, build confidence with apps and Microsoft programmes, run meetings online or get formal computing qualifications.


Ask us about becoming a Community Learning Champion to promote our courses and find out about other things going on. Great for CVs, you’ll also get support from the Family Learning team.