Here for the long haul!

The Family Learning team has worked in York for over 25 years, so we think we’ve demonstrated resilience! Our courses are open for anyone who wants to build confidence and skills to support a child’s development and learning but our main aim is to help to close gaps, both for children and for our adult learners who may have missed out on their own education* or just feel that their knowledge is out of date. We support parents, grandparents and carers of children aged from 6 months, through early years and primary school, looking at how children learn, making resources and discussing activities that they can adapt for use at home. Some courses have free childcare and joint activities built in too.

We welcome referrals from local area teams, schools and pre-school settings, and other local authority and community teams.  You are probably working with the people who would benefit most from our courses – and, with your help, these are the people we want to reach.

We are funded by central Government through the Adult Skills Budget. This means that courses are FREE to both the venue/host and the learner. However, it’s so much more than a course or an intervention; it can be a game changer. As well as gaining confidence in their abilities to support their children, our adult learners share experiences and ideas, form friendship groups and develop transferable skills such as time management, evaluation and improved communication skills. Importantly, they also become “learning” role models for their children.

“Learners rightly value the impact that these courses have on their family.”      Ofsted, Nov 2019

Courses are currently delivered online, with morning, afternoon and evening options available.  We hope to be out at some venues delivering face to face in the summer or autumn term. Please speak to us if you feel this would be appropriate for your setting.

If possible we like people to enquire online and there’s a quick referral form you can use to do this.  Click here. If you need paper copies, for instance for use in the community, or have any queries or further questions about the courses, please phone 01904 554277 and Rebekah and our enrolment team will do their best to help.

Where permission is given, we’re happy to share learner progress with you. We know it’s great to hear how things have gone and our learners are usually happy to share their success stories!

We look forward to working with you.

Fiona and the Family Learning team

Any of our workshops can be booked as a one-off in a specific venue, or we can run several in a series.

Working with Family Learning – Information for making referrals

We know full well that many adult learners come back to learning after they have children because they want to do what’s best for their kids, so Family Learning is a great motivator and way of engaging with our families.  It’s a powerful, flexible tool which provides a second chance for the adults who quickly make friends and realise they’re not alone; a great start for the child with parents who develop the confidence and skills to support their learning; and raised aspirations and social mobility for the whole family.

We are always grateful to receive referrals onto Family Learning courses. Please read the guidance below to ensure that you understand our eligibility and referral criteria:

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.

These courses are funded by central government through the Adult Skills Budget and as such, the primary aim is to engage with people who missed out first time around on English and/or maths qualifications.  They are funded for and so aimed at people who did not obtain a grade C or 4 in GCSEs in English and/or maths.  (As this is over half the working age population, the potential audience is quite a lot!)

To be eligible for the funding, participants need to be 19+ on 31 August 2019, have had UK or EU/EEA resident status for the past three years, or be married to someone with UK or EU/EEA resident status for the past three years. Other groups such as army families and refugees are also funded – please ask for further details if needed.  Families who are here solely for university/education purposes are not usually funded for these courses.

Information, Advice and Guidance: York Learning participate in a number of projects which involve one to one advice and guidance for individuals and many of our team are trained in delivering IAG which is offered to all of our learners.  We are also developing a wider IAG training and networking package to assist those of us working in communities to link up the work we are doing and facilitate signposting and referrals to wider support services.

Childcare:  Funding for childcare is very limited and we are only able to supply a basic amount of childcare at each venue.  Because of child-adult ratios, we ask that if you are referring a new learner with a child who is under 1, that you fund a childcare worker to support them (£450 for a 10 week course).  Alternatively, we may be able to fund childcare with an Ofsted registered provider as part of our Learner Support package, if one has been identified.

Additional Support Needs: Where an additional support need is known for an adult learner, we are usually able to organise volunteers and/or paid support workers to work alongside the tutors.  Please ensure you speak to one of our team in advance of a course starting if you feel a learner you are referring will need specific support to access the course. Similarly, if a child attending our childcare provision needs additional support, please ensure our team has details in advance of the course starting.

Participants on the courses need to have enough English to be able to follow general discussion and straightforward texts used on the course.  For those who are still learning the language, by far the best course of action is to refer them to our ESOL provision, where they will be taught by expert language tutors to develop the grammar and language they need at a level appropriate to them. ESOL is fully funded for those who are earning less that £16009.50 per annum, and part funded for others.

We have capacity to deliver Early Start and potentially Get Ready for School – type courses specifically for ESOL learner groups and if there is sufficient demand in any one venue, then we can talk to you about putting these on.

We will consider individual cases when it comes to referrals to our non accredited provision: Early Start, Family Learning short courses and How Children Learn (autumn term).  We can for example consider a young mum or a parent whose children are attending one of our host school venues.

However for accredited courses, including Keep Up and our mainstream English and maths courses, learners need to be eligible as detailed above.  If in doubt, please discuss individual cases with us before referring onto a course so that we can ensure the learner is directed to the most appropriate provision. To refer an individual onto our English and maths programmes, including Keep Up, please book a skills assessment.

Family Learning is a wonderful package, with positive impact on the adult, child and the wider community.  It’s a great “mover on” of lives.  However, we can’t provide a solution to all problems and sometimes it’s best to wait until a learner has dealt with crisis issues such as housing or drugs/alcohol problems before the added pressure of commitment to a course. If you refer someone who has anxiety issues or hasn’t previously been attending a regular group, then we ask that you arrange for someone to bring them along to the first session.  The deal is, if you can get them to us, we will do our best to make it work!

If you have any queries on any of the above, please contact:

Individual learner eligibility queries: Fiona Himsworth,

Course content and development: Claire Wilton,

Information, Advice and Guidance / Community Learning Champions:  Grainne Hillery,

or call us on 01904 554277.