Speaking and listening project has widespread benefits

21 August 2013

NIACE’s evaluation of a project that explored innovative approaches to improve speaking and listening skills for families, has found that positive outcomes were experienced by the parents, children and all other stakeholders.

Through the Speaking and Listening Bridge project – funded by John Lyon’s Charity – NIACE supported the London Boroughs of Ealing and Hammersmith and Fulham to develop and deliver innovative approaches to improve speaking and listening skills for families, from August 2012 to July 2013.

An evaluation of the project found that all families involved felt their communications skills had become more positive and constructive. Families’ attitudes towards and their confidence to participate in learning had also improved, with almost all of the parents progressing onto further learning opportunities and the children engaging more in their school work.

As a result of participating in the project, the families also experienced a range of other positive outcomes affecting their wider lives. For parents, these included improvements in their employability, wider social networks, better family relationships, and improvements to physical and mental health. The wider outcomes for children included improvements in their behaviour, social relationships and physical health.

Joyce Black, Head of Skills for Life at NIACE, said:

“As well as the positive outcomes that families involved in the Speaking and Listening Bridge project experienced, the tutors and learning coordinators gained invaluable insight too, which led to changes in their practice, their perceptions of families and the way they will deliver their provision in the future.

“This evaluation demonstrates that one-to-one, tailored programmes can be a highly effective way of engaging hard-to-reach families who face multiple barriers to learning. The findings highlight the potential impact that these kinds of approaches to learner engagement and teaching can have for families with multiple needs, as well as tutors and other stakeholders.”