Press release

Providers doing valuable work to promote family learning

Ofsted has found that providers across England are doing valuable work to promote family learning.

To highlight Adult Learners’ Week (14-20 June) Ofsted today has published 7 case studies highlighting excellent examples of good practice in family learning which community and skills providers, schools and other organisations have developed across England. The case studies are part of a joint initiative between Ofsted and The National Institute of Adult Continuing Learning (NIACE).

‘Family learning’ refers to learning activities where children and their parents learn together, gaining new skills or knowledge. These activities contribute to a culture of learning within the family and can improve the life chances of those involved.

The Ofsted case studies build on NIACE’s report in 2013 looking into family learning in England and Wales. NIACE invited providers to showcase good examples of their family learning projects. These were subsequently visited by Ofsted to consider the benefits of a specific approach to encourage families to learn together.

The good practice case studies shows how effective organisations across England have been in helping children and their parents to significantly benefit from family-based learning. Initiatives such as healthy living through learning, outreach to teenage parents and the use of the popular TV programme, Doctor Who, in the teaching of mathematics and science have helped to improve the lives of children, young people and their parents

Ofsted’s Deputy Director for Further Education and Skills, Marina Gaze, commenting on the case studies, said:

Our examples of good practice showcase the tremendous work being done all around England to provide innovative and beneficial family learning programmes.

They show that family learning can achieve great things and have a positive impact on the lives of children and young people. This can include improving their numeracy, literacy and language skills. Family learning schemes also play a critical role in aiding parents and carers to enjoy and understand better how to help their children in their learning.

‘This is also a great opportunity to show people that Ofsted isn’t just about inspections; we work to highlight providers who are making crucial contributions so others can learn by example. I hope that these programmes, and Ofsted’s endorsements, will help to fuel other similar initiatives throughout the country.

Deputy Chief Executive of NIACE, Carol Taylor OBE, added:

The case studies prove how valuable Ofsted believes family learning is to children’s attainment in school. They will also reassure headteachers that Ofsted will support the use of the pupil premium, and other funding, to develop the skills of both children and adults through family learning programmes.

We have been extremely pleased that Ofsted chose to work with us to raise the profile of family learning, and recognise the excellent and innovative practice happening across the country. One of the biggest motivators for adults to return to learning is to help their children with schoolwork. We want more schools to consider the impact that improving the skills of adults will have on raising the skills of their children. Only by developing a culture of learning in families can we hope to break the inter-generational cycle of low achievement.

Adult Learners’ Week from 14 to 20 June, celebrate teachers, trainers and tutors who help adults change their lives through learning.

Ofsted plans to publish more good practice case studies on its findings in family learning in the coming months.

Notes to editors

  1. The family learning providers visited were: Kirklees Council Adult and Community Learning & Ravensthorpe Community Childcare; Hampshire County Council; Booktrust; Nottinghamshire County Council; Leicester Adult Skills & Learning; Westminster City Council; and Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council.

  2. The case studies are available online.

  3. The Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted) regulates and inspects to achieve excellence in the care of children and young people, and in education and skills for learners of all ages. It regulates and inspects childcare and children’s social care, and inspects the Children and Family Court Advisory Support Service (Cafcass), schools, colleges, initial teacher training, work-based learning and skills training, adult and community learning, and education and training in prisons and other secure establishments. It assesses council children’s services, and inspects services for looked after children, safeguarding and child protection.

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