Family Learning is a well-established, nationally recognised intervention designed to give mums, dads, grandparents and carers opportunities to find out how children learn and are taught at school. We encourage our learners to ask questions, discuss and share ideas and at the same time, develop their own skills and gain qualifications. But it’s much more than that. Over the years, our learners have told us just how these courses change their lives. Local and national research backs this up, demonstrating time and time again the wide-ranging impact of Family Learning programmes.
Parents and carers often tell us that they feel awkward about going in to school or pre-school settings, saying they don’t know how to support their children or that they don’t understand the teaching methods being used. Some of them may have had an unsettled education themselves or had negative experiences in their own learning which has led to a lack of confidence.Family Learning’s main strength lies in the fact that we have time to listen to our adult learners. We help them to realise and build on the experience and knowledge they already have, giving them the confidence to support their children and also to tackle issues around their own learning and develop their skills. Learner feedback and research consistently shows us that this approach leads to higher achievement and aspirations for both adult and child.
We are always looking for new ideas and approaches. One way we do this is through our partnership work, judged to be “outstanding” in our last three Ofsted inspections. Our partners include school and children centre teams, Job Centre Plus, Libraries and Archives, The Centre for Lifelong Learning, the Travellers’ Trust, York District Hospital and Higher York. More recently we have been asked to support work with refugees and are working on projects with the Citizens Advice Bureau, Big Local and York City Football Club.
One thing we have learnt over the years is that the hardest part of what we do is making that first contact and encouraging people to take a chance, to try learning again where previously they may have failed or where they lack confidence. This is where you come in. If you are reading this leaflet, chances are you are someone who knows or works with people who would benefit from our courses. Perhaps you are the person who can help someone make that first step by talking to them about the options open to them, by bringing them along to our central desk 22 at West Offices or by introducing them to Julia and Sally, our outreach workers.
Our outreach team works across the city to promote courses and to engage with people who may not otherwise come forward. They are happy to visit an individual with you to discuss their needs, set up information stands at special events or come along to speak to groups, e.g. at staff training or school parents’ evenings.Our tutors all have relevant teaching and subject specific qualifications as well as oodles of experience! They work with our wider team and partners to develop courses which are lively and meaningful; they work with the outreach team to support the learners and with the learners themselves to develop individual and group learning goals with SMART targets. This ensures that each learner achieves the best possible results from the course.Our childcare staff are fully qualified and very experienced. They work within the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework to provide a range of activities for children in their care. Each child is allocated a key team member who liaises with the child’s parent/ carer to ensure that their needs are met.Our childcare service is managed flexibly and economically. However, funding for this vital service is very limited, and childcare is now co-funded with some settings to enable access for more families. We also provide staffing for other organisations for sessional or cover work.As Family Learning sits within the York Learning team, we have access to a wide range of expertise and experience. Our learners receive not only encouragement to access that first workshop or course, but also ongoing information, advice and guidance (IAG) so that they can consider further options open to them and continue to move forward with realistic and achievable career aspirations for both themselves and their families.