Family learning will raise standards in schools

7 June 2014

Responding to the Secretary of State for Education’s speech made to the Policy Exchange conference this morning, NIACE believes that more emphasis needs to be given to the role family learning can play in raising children’s attainment.

Family learning has a crucial role to play and yet is not as widespread as it should be. Where it is taken seriously it has shown a very positive impact on raising children’s attainment in school as well as improving standards in English and maths for both children and their parents.

Carol Taylor, NIACE Deputy Chief Executive for Development and Research, said:

“We applaud Michael Gove’s view that parents are as important – if not more important, especially in the early years – as teachers, in ensuring children develop the skills they need. We believe, like the Secretary of State, that parents and carers have a vital role in creating an environment where children’s natural curiosity to learn is nurtured and supported.

“One of the main challenges is that many parents aren’t confident enough in their own skills to support their children and help them achieve to their potential. With one-in-ten of the adult population struggling with literacy and/or numeracy, many parents may not be able to create that environment where learning, reading, exploring and discussions are everyday occurrences.  

“We hope that family learning and the role of parents in their children’s skills development will feature in the forthcoming Conservative Party manifesto. And we hope to see policies in the next session of Parliament which will ensure every primary school and early years setting offers family learning provision as a matter of course.  These will build on the great examples of family learning that are already happening across the country. They show what a highly successful intervention it is and how it improves the skills of both children and adults simultaneously, as well as supporting parents to help their children thrive.”