Boost family learning to close skills gap argues report

Millions of children in England and Wales are held back by their parents’ poor basic skills, suggests a report. This is from the BBC

Involving the whole family in learning can boost educational attainment across generations and should be integral to schools says the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE).

Governments should give family learning more support, the report says.

England is “a nation in crisis” as far as skills are concerned said inquiry chairwoman Baroness Howarth.

“Adults whose parents have low levels of education are eight times more likely to have poor proficiency in literacy than adults whose parents had higher levels of education,” writes Valerie Howarth in her foreword.

“Surely it is a moral outrage that a nation such as ours should be in this position.”

The report draws on a recent OECD study which found that adults in England score among the lowest results in international literacy and numeracy tests when compared with the same age group in other industrialised countries.

The OECD study, published earlier in October, found England was 22nd for literacy and 21st for numeracy out of 24 countries.

The NIACE team also looked at research from national and local government, Ofsted and from educational, family and children’s charities.

They found “particularly compelling evidence that family language and maths programmes benefit children’s skills as well as those of their parents and carers”.

They also found evidence of wider benefits from improving adults’ confidence and self-esteem to reducing ill health, unemployment and re-offending.

NIACE urges head teachers to fund family learning through the Pupil Premium which is paid to schools to support the attainment of pupils on free school meals or in care.

It also calls for government departments to work together to support family learning and to ensure that there is enough funding to meet demand.

David Hughes, chief executive of NIACE said: “Imagine growing up in a home where there are no books, no stories and where your parents don’t have the confidence to help you with your homework.

“Unfortunately that is a reality for too many children – but this situation can be overcome.

“Across the country there are examples of family learning programmes which have transformed the prospects of adults and children.

“But these programmes should not be the exception, they need to be the norm in every school and community.”…

More at:  Boost family learning to close skills gap argues report

What do you think of the suggestions in this report? Does your school currently engage in family learning and if so how successful do you think it is? Please share examples of successful initiatives in the comments below or via Twitter…

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