Family learning will boost white working class performance

18 June 2014

Responding to the report, Underachievement in Education by White Working Class Children, published today by the Education Committee, David Hughes, Chief Executive of NIACE, said:

“I am delighted that the Committee recognises the essential role that parents play in their children’s performance at school. Parents who are confident in their own skills – especially literacy, numeracy and IT – are able to play their part in their children’s learning. They are able to read to their children, help them with maths and engage with the teachers in school to track and support progress. Parents with skills and confidence will undoubtedly help their children to thrive and reach their potential. However, we know that it is more than just parental engagement that’s needed; family learning programmes at schools across the country, which allow parents to learn alongside children, have produced dramatic turnarounds in children’s performance.

“Our joint report with Ofsted yesterday confirmed many of the recommendations from our Family Learning Inquiry last year. As does the Robin Hood Primary School in Nottingham, a winner of an Adult Learners’ Week award this week. The Headmaster believes that their family learning provision, which is funded through the Pupil Premium, has provided a solution to school improvement, helping to tackle low standards, attainment and attendance. The positive impact on the self-belief and confidence of the parents means they are better able to support their children. This is just one school of many where family learning is making a difference. And this is why we want to see family learning in every school.

“I am very supportive of the recommendation in the Select Committee report that more research is needed into family learning and parental engagement. We are actively pursuing funding for this and hope to be able to announce progress in the near future.

“We know that family learning works and call on key agencies – particularly the Department for Education – to work with us and the family learning sector to strategically and consistently embed family learning provision into school strategies. This will ensure that it can make an optimal contribution to improving educational achievement, both for white working class children, their peers and their families.”