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Trial to help parents provide 'better support' for kids

20/11/2013 Joanna
Parents in two urban areas in England are to attend courses designed to help them assist their kids during homework exercises. 

Middlesbrough and Camden have been chosen as the pilot areas for the Parenting Academy project, which is being run by Bristol University and Chicago University and is funded by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF).

Some £1 million is being made available for the scheme, which will be trialled at 14 schools across the two locations. 

It is hoped that by equipping parents with the necessary skills to support their children in numeracy, literacy and science, standards will be increased across the board, while people in teaching jobs should also see engagement levels increase.

Speaking to the BBC about the initiative, EEF chief executive Dr Kevan Collins said parents' ability to "support their children's learning can have a big impact on whether or not their child succeeds at school and in later life".

He added: "Where parents themselves don't know enough about basic maths or literacy, they can't help with homework and support teachers." 

Dr Collins made it clear the scheme is only a test and if there are no positive results, it will not be rolled out nationwide. 

The idea behind the project comes from a successful initiative in the US, where parents of pre-school children attended learning sessions twice weekly so they could improve their knowledge of maths and literacy. 

As part of the trial, some parents will be paid £600 to act as an incentive to make sure they attend all 18 sessions.

It is the latest initiative set up in order to improve attainment in poor areas. The EEF - in conjunction with the Nominet Trust Fund - has already made £3.5 million available for seven schemes that involve 18,000 pupils in 260 schools across England. These include the distribution of iPads in order to boost learning skills. 

Posted by Charlotte MichaelsADNFCR-2164-ID-801662910-ADNFCR
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