From education to employment

Parents, children and adult learning

Family learning policy in the 2020s

Campaign for Learning’s new policy paper, published today (5th July 2022), examines the important links between learning and family life, and how these can be harnessed to support a wide range of positive outcomes, including children’s education, family wellbeing, and adult skills and employment.

Parents, Children and Adult Learning – Family Learning Policy in the 2020sis a collection of 16 articles by leading experts from organisations spanning the fields of school and further education, adult learning, community services, wellbeing, innovation and technology.

The authors make recommendations on how parents can be engaged and supported to improve education outcomes for children, as well as the wider role of intergenerational learning and community support in delivering better outcomes for all family members.

Authors in Parents, Children and Adult Learning – Family Learning Policy in the 2020s

  • Sam Freedman, Research Fellow, Institute of Government
  • Lee Elliot-Major, Professor of Social Mobility, University of Exeter
  • Adrian Burt, Founder, MarvellousMe
  • Noni Csogor, Research and Policy Manager, Sixth Form Colleges Association
  • Lesley Thain, Head of Career Programmes, Gatsby Foundation
  • Kerry-Jane Packman, Executive Director, Parentkind
  • Louise Bazalgette, Deputy Director, Nesta
  • Tom Harbour, Chief Executive, Learning with Parents
  • Aoife O’Higgins, Director of Research, What Works for Children’s Social Care
  • Sarah Porretta, Insights Director, Money and Pensions Service
  • Christine Myhill, National Chair, ASCEL
  • Katie Easey, Director of Education: Community Learning, WEA
  • Professor Alison Clark-Wilson, Chair, and Lucy Davis, Chief Executive, Maths on Toast – the family maths charity
  • Nancy Hey, Chief Executive, What Works Centre for Wellbeing
  • Susan Pember, Policy Director, HOLEX
  • Juliette Collier, National Director, and John Beattie, Deputy Director (Families), Campaign for Learning

Juliette Collier, National Director, Campaign for Learning said:

“As the authors show in their excellent articles, there is a diverse range of policy and practice perspectives about parents, children and adult learning.

Families are the foundation for learning. They shape our aspirations and our ability to value and engage with learning. Yet there is currently no formal infrastructure or coherent Government policies that support learning in families.

We know that the home learning environment has a significant impact on children’s achievement and that parents, carers and schools want to support their children’s learning.  Learning approaches which involve the family can motivate adults to develop their skills to boost employability and career prospects, and more widely improve family wellbeing including financial resilience.

“Together, these insightful pieces show the importance of ‘thinking family’ in policy terms, but also demonstrate the need to map the links and feedback loops between different areas of policy and practice which involve families and learning. This will help policy makers understand and maximise the benefits for families.

If we are serious about social mobility, improving children’s achievement and developing adult skills to boost employability and careers prospects then family learning must be prioritised.”

Campaign for Learning conclude the pamphlet with proposed next steps and recommendations for family learning in England including the need for:

  • An agreed definition of ‘family learning’ to support policy developments in England
  • Sustainable Local Family Learning Networks in England which can contribute to the levelling up agenda
  • A National Strategic Family Learning Network in England to develop policy recommendations
  • Researchers, stakeholders and funders to work together to develop a strong research base of evidence-informed approaches for family learning
  • Effective parental engagement strategies in schools with pre-16 pupils supported by family learning providers
  • Family Hubs to play a central role in the development and delivery of family learning and national initiatives such as the new numeracy programmme, ‘Multiply.

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