The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) in the UK has published findings from a new evaluation report of “Family Skills,” a program that aims to improve the literacy and language of children learning English as a second language.
A total of 115 primary schools in England took part in a randomized controlled trial of Family Skills. Over the course of one term, parents of four- and five-year-olds were offered weekly sessions with family learning tutors. The 2.5 hour sessions focused on topics like reading to children, phonics, making the most of bilingualism, learning through play, and understanding primary education in England. Families were encouraged to do learning activities at home with their children, and were also given opportunities to visit a local library and take a tour of their child’s school.
The evaluation, conducted by the National Centre for Social Research, found that:
- Overall, children of parents who were offered the Family Skills intervention did not make any more progress in literacy than children of parents who were not offered it (effect size = +0.01).
- However, the evaluation also suggests that children whose parents actually attendedFamily Skills sessions made greater progress in literacy than children whose parents did not.
While the evaluators are cautious about this, it may indicate some potential if ways can be found to ensure more parents attend. The key challenge the evaluation highlighted is that some schools struggled to get parents to show up – only around one-third of eligible parents attended at least one session.
Source: Husain, F., Wishart, R., Marshall, L., Frankenberg, S., Bussard, L., Chidley, S., Hudson, R., Votjkova, M., & Morris, S. (2018). Family Skills Evaluation report and executive summary, Report to the Education Endowment Foundation. London: Education Endowme