Family Skills

This programme will test the impact of a family literacy programme. The Family SKILLS programme will focus on parental engagement to improve the literacy skills of reception class pupils with EAL and their parents. Parents will be helped to develop their own literacy and language skills so they feel more confident about supporting their child’s learning at home. It will combine discrete ‘parents only’ sessions, and sessions with parents and children learning together. The sessions will include an introduction to education in England and the culture of schools, reading strategies, home literacy practices, oral traditions (including storytelling, songs and rhymes), phonics, learning through play, and a focus on how to make the most of bilingualism.

Why are we funding it?

The family literacy model on which this intervention is based was originally funded by the Skills Funding Agency and is delivered by teams in local authorities throughout the country to around 50,000 families a year. This programme will be coordinated by Learning Unlimited and Campaign for Learning, workingin partnership with the Family Learning Local Authority Group (FLLAG).

A recent matched study by the Institute of Education found that 30-hour family literacy programmes had a positive effect on children’s reading scores: children in the intervention group made greater gains in their reading than children in the control group (equal to around two months’ additional progress).

This project is being funded with Unbound Philanthropy and the Bell Foundation, as part of a £2m funding round focused on raising the attainment of EAL pupils. 

How are we evaluating it?

A team from the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) has been appointed to conduct the evaluation. The evaluation will be structured as a two-arm randomised control trial in 140 primary schools. Schools will be allocated to receive support in the Family Skills parenting programme; or to a business as usual control.

When will the evaluation report be due?

The evaluation report will be published in spring 2018.