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News - 18 October 2013

Family learning can reduce the skills gap

A new report from the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE), suggests that millions of children in England and Wales are held back by their parents' poor basic skills and that involving the whole family in learning can boost educational attainment across generations and should be integral to schools.

The inquiry chairwoman Baroness Howarth refers to England as "a nation in crisis" and
"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.”

The report draws on a recent study by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) which found that adults in England were 22nd for literacy and 21st for numeracy when compared with the same age group in 24 other industrialised countries.

They found compelling evidence to suggest that there are benefits from improving adult learning, not only in supporting their children’s education but in improving adults' confidence and self-esteem to reducing ill health, unemployment and re-offending.

David Hughes, chief executive of NIACE said:
"Across the country there are examples of family learning programmes which have transformed the prospects of adults and children.”

Lavinia Newman, founder of ABDS comments:
“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. The government also supports family learning through the £210m community learning budget to fund a range of flexible courses, including English and maths tailored to individuals' needs and learning styles.”

Brian Lightman of the Association of School and College Leaders said he broadly welcomed the report.
"Parents play a hugely important role in their children's success at school, and schools already do a great deal to engage parents and help them to support their children.

However, he continues:
"Sadly some parents can't or won't support their children's learning and in those cases it is incredibly challenging for schools to create family learning links."

If you need any help and advice with Free School or Academy Schools, contact Lavinia Newman or Peter Ham now to discuss how ABDS can help bring their experience to these matters.

ABDS Chartered Certified Accountants of Southampton.
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