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Families Connect

Supporting parents and children to learn together

Increasing parents’ skills and confidence to support their child’s learning.

Creating a learning environment at home

In the UK, children from lower income families are 50% less likely to do as well at school as their wealthier classmates.

Only a small fraction of children’s learning takes place at school, so the better the home environment, the better the child’s learning can be.

That’s why we’ve developed Families Connect.

Contact us to register your interest in Families Connect.

How Families Connect works

Families Connect focuses on supporting parents and children to learn together.

It helps parents to support their children’s learning in three key areas:

  • Literacy and language development
  • Numeracy
  • Emotional development

The eight-week programme provides a series of activities, techniques and games that parents and carers can do with their children at home.

Each activity encourages parents and children to spend quality time together by talking about specific topics and reflecting on what they already do to support their children’s learning.

Parents also discuss the science behind the programme’s activities. These informal workshops invite parents to explore new games and approaches that might help them to support their child’s learning at home.

 

The impact

We evaluate Families Connect using a variety of methods, including questionnaires from the families who take part. These questionnaires help us to find out how well the programme is working and whether it helps children and families. We also have to report on overall impact to the organisations and individuals who fund the programme, which is free for schools and families thanks to their support. You can find out more about how we protect this data and what we do with it in the Families Connect Privacy Notice.

The latest evaluation of Families Connect took place in schools across the UK and involved more than 2000 families who participated in the programme during 2018.

The findings show Families Connect was successful in supporting children’s learning and increasing engagement between parents and schools. It also showed increases in self-esteem and confidence amongst parents, who demonstrated a stronger understanding of their child’s development and expressed that they really enjoyed the programme.

Families Connect is currently being evaluated as part of a UK-wide Random Efficacy Control Trial, in partnership with the National Foundation for Educational Research and Queens University Belfast. This more robust methodology is the next stage in our evaluation journey to understand the impact of the programme. It will measure outcomes through randomly allocating families to an intervention and control group, meaning we can be more confident in our attribution of any change to the effects of the intervention. The evaluation will also assess longer term expected outcomes of the project, measuring potential change in children’s receptive language and numeracy over a six-month period. We expect the results of the trial will be published late 2020.

Save the Children UK has also adapted Families Connect to be suitable for three-year-olds informed by co-design with families and piloting in nurseries across the UK. The updated programme for three-to-six-year-olds will be available to schools with nursery provision and Children’s Centres from 2021 onwards.

Reports

Families Connect Impact Report 2018, UK wide

Adapting Families Connect for 3-year-olds pilot - an interim evaluation report

Families Connect Summer Evaluation 2016

Families Connect Autumn Evaluation 2016 

 

The programme in action

Nadine and her son Regan, 4, take part in a Families Connect session at their school in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Nadine and her son Regan, 4, take part in a Families Connect session at their school in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Nadine took part in Families Connect with her son, Regan.

She says: “Regan has speech problems, so when we talked about books and things like that it really helped him along with his speech.

"Now he’s interacting with other things, counting, reading books or playing with other toys he’s hardly looked at before.”

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We are always looking for schools and local authorities to help us to bring Families Connect to more communities.

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