My Education was originally designed by First Campus to help parents in BME communities to better understand their children’s education. In evaluating the original project, First Campus recognised that this model could be used across the region for family learning to identify and overcome barriers to engagement with schools.
The Family Learning model of My Education was designed to use this model to explore issues parents experience around barriers to being involved in school life. The project aimed to develop a ‘whole school’ approach which enables the co-production of educational outcomes with families and the wider community.
During the project First Campus worked with 5 Communities First Clusters within SE Wales and the 5 comprehensive schools in or closest to those Communities First areas. They commissioned Dynamix to facilitate a project that trained young people as researchers and then supported those young people to deliver a meaningful research project. They explored parents’ engagement with school, what barriers existed and what could be done to remove them. Following the pupil led consultation process Dynamix produced individual school reports and an overarching project report with findings and recommendations for consideration by senior management to inform the family learning and parental engagement elements of their school development plans and develop appropriate action plans.
- Train young people to be researchers, who could then ask parents and carers about barriers to engagement and their ideas about how to get them more involved in school;
- Undertake pupil led consultations with parents and carers;
- Produce individual school reports and overarching project report.
This phase aimed to facilitate provision which supports the recommendations of the Phase 1 report. A significant theme was the need for a whole school approach to parental engagement and, therefore, we commissioned NIACE (now the Learning and Work Institute) to develop a ‘Governor and Key Stakeholder Training’ for all participating schools. The aims of this training are outlined below:
- Offer an evidence based rationale for increasing parental engagement.
- Offer guidance on the relationship between parental engagement and family learning and outline why family learning should be integral to school strategy.
- Provide examples of best practice principles and use inclusive training methods to initiate a school plan.
- Outline local and national family learning networks and stakeholders that can support the school’s family learning agenda.
- Develop an action plan for each participating school which includes a minimum of one event or project that supports parental engagement and or family learning in their school.
Design, delivery and evaluation of the five projects developed during the phase 2 training.
A summary of the five projects can be seen below: