Family learning and pupil premium funding

Writing in the TES FE Focus , Stephen Exley reports on Ofsted’s conclusions that ‘pupil premium’ funding is not being spent effectively. The funding amounts to £623 for every child who is entitled to free school meals. You can read the feature at:

David Hughes, Chief Executive of NIACE, the National Institute for Adult and Continuing Education, suggests that schools might use the funding for family learning.

Why might this be a good idea?

This extract from a Department for Education article, The role of parents in a child’s learning, from 26 April 2012 provides some background:

….research shows that parental involvement in children’s learning is a key factor in improving children’s academic attainment and achievements, as well as their overall behaviour and attendance.

The role of parents during a child’s earliest years is the single biggest influence on their development. Good quality home learning contributes more to children’s intellectual and social development than parental occupation, education or income.

A parent’s attitudes, aspirations and behaviour are all important, as is their ability to:
• understand their child’s day-to-day progress
• undertake family learning together
• talk regularly with their child about their learning.

For some parents, developing this confidence can be difficult – especially if they also need help with their own literacy, language and numeracy skills.

The WEA has a tradition of working in many partnerships with parents, carers, schools and children’s centres. We know the benefits that come from working with two generations at the same time. Education doesn’t just take place during school hours and it’s to everyone’s advantage that a child’s home environment is supportive of their learning.

Adult and community educators can work closely with schools to engage and support adults who have written themselves off in educational terms and who don’t engage in their children’s learning because they don’t know how to do so. There are countless stories of adults who flourish and become better parents of children with raised educational attainment.

As a Commissioner on the current Independent Inquiry into Family Learning (England and Wales), I’m seeing a range of evidence being presented, including statistics, stories and some very impressive case studies and I’m looking forward to the Inquiry’s fndings being published later this year. We should wlecome this focus on family learning as it has significant impact but can fall between government departments, education sectors and funding streams.

You can find out more about the Inquiry at:

Schools will want to spend the pupil premium funding flexibly, making local decisions and there are many demands for extra resources, but persuasive arguments can be made for family learning as head teachers consider the options.