A new initiative to encourage parents to be more engaged with their children’s learning has launched Wednesday in Keighley and in Tong and Bowling.
Inspiring Parents aims to improve literacy attainment for children aged 9 to 11 by supporting their parents to be more involved in their learning at school and at home. It is set up by Bradford Stories, a campaign from the National Literacy Trust Hub in Bradford, and funded by Bradford Opportunity Area.
Last year, nearly a third of children in Bradford (29%) left primary school unable to read at the expected level for their age. Research shows that when parents and carers take an active role in their children’s education it can transform their chances of success at school and beyond.
The programme will operate in selected schools in Keighley and in Tong and Bowling to promote positive parent-school interactions and raise awareness of the impact of parental engagement at home. It will be run by parent volunteers from the local community, who are best placed to understand, and help overcome, the challenges facing families in the area. They will be known as Parent Champions.
Each volunteer will lead a six-week programme of literacy-themed activities with a group of parents. These activities will be tailored to the specific families and their needs, but may range from school coffee mornings, family reading groups and creative activities to do at home. These activities will help parents understand the importance of supporting their child’s literacy and give them ideas and suggestions for ways to continue their child’s learning at home.
The project launched on Wednesday with two fun-filled family events: one at St Christopher’s Church in Holmewood and another at Central Hall in Keighley. Local families have been invited to take part in lots of fun activities – from designing their own superhero comic strips, to writing their own newspaper front page to celebrate stories from their community. All of the activities model creative ways that parents can help develop their children’s reading and writing skills at home. Children will also be treated to storytelling from author James Nicol, and will receive free books to take home.
Bradford is one of 12 areas in England chosen by the Department for Education as Opportunity Areas. The city will benefit from increased funding to improve social mobility and unlock the potential of England’s young people through education.
Imran Hafeez, Inspiring Parents Lead and Manager of Bradford Stories, said: “Parents and guardians play such an important role in their children’s learning and outcomes: their engagement is a more powerful force for academic success than other family background such as social class, family size, and level of parental education. We want to get more parents positively engaging in their children’s learning and give them the confidence to know that their involvement is invaluable to their child’s happiness and later success.”
Anne-Marie Canning, Independent Chair, Bradford Opportunity Area Partnership Board said: “The Bradford Opportunity Area is pleased to be able to support the National Literacy Trusts Inspiring Parents events as we aim to reach as many parents as possible in local areas, through Parent Champions who can offer practical help to other parents read for fun to their children and help them develop essential reading and communication skills.”
To find out more about the project, visit Inspiringparents.org.uk.
The programme will run until the summer of 2020.