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Supporting Parents to Strengthen Children's Early Learning

Save the Children UK Impact

This webinar was held on the afternoon 4th March 2021 and launched the final report of a Nuffield Foundation funded Randomised Controlled Trial (RCT) of the Families Connect Programme and provided a forum for policy makers, practitioners and researchers to come together and discuss best practice with representatives across the early years sector.

The first few years of a child’s life are crucial, and poverty can have a long-lasting negative impact on children’s outcomes. Organisations such as Education Endowment Fund have highlighted how progress in addressing the attainment gap for children living in disadvantage have been reversed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, parental engagement in children’s learning has come under the spotlight as critical for children’s well-being and development. 

 The event provided an opportunity to strengthen learning and strategies to reduce the impact of disadvantage on the attainment gap and support approaches to parental engagement: Sharing learning, highlighting evidence gaps and promoting enquiry into what makes for sustainable change. It also supported evaluation practice with a focus on addressing the challenges of methodological approaches to measuring programmes and interpreting outcomes in children’s early learning. 

Chaired by Dan Paskins, UK Impact Director, Save the Children 

Key speakers at the event were:

  • Eleanor Ireland, Programme Head of Education: Early Years and Primary at the Nuffield Foundation. [10:00]
  • Ben Styles, Head of Trials Unit at the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER). [16:43] 
  • Tracy Jackson, Head of Early Years at Save the Children. [22:42] 
  • The Families Connect RCT project team from NFER, Save the Children and Queens University Belfast. [30:54]
  • Cuckoo Hall Academy [1:04:28]
  • Irk Valley Primary School [1:09:29]
  • Sarah Miller, Queens University Belfast. [1:26:09]

Facilitated discussion forums were hosted by:

We have produced a briefing document to accompany the full report, which provides an overview of the evaluation findings and sets out our approach for developing Families Connect and priorities for future research, policy and practice.  
You can view the full report and the executive summary here. 
Save the Children would like to thank the Nuffield Foundation and all those who conducted the evaluation and compiled the report at NFER and Queen’s University Belfast. 
The project has been funded by the Nuffield Foundation, but the views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily the Foundation. Visit https://www.nuffieldfoundation.org/