The Sutton Trust working in partnership with Esmée Fairbairn Foundation established the Parental Engagement Fund building on the evidence that engaging parents in their children’s learning can have a positive impact on their attainment. The aim of the fund is to increase attainment for disadvantaged children in the early years through the development of more effective parental engagement. In addition, the hope is to improve the sustainability of effective interventions and to identify features of good practice to share with the Early Years sector.
The National Children’s Bureau (NCB) is one of five organisations that the fund is working with. An evaluation team, (Jelley, Sylva, Karemaker, Eisenstadt) from the Department of Education at the University of Oxford, has worked with NCB, acting as a critical friend, expert advisor and independent evaluator supporting them to develop delivery and demonstrate impact.
As part of the Parental Engagement Fund, ECU has delivered a family literacy project in partnership with Oldham Council, to help practitioners work with parents and carers to support their children’s early literacy development. The University of Oxford worked with ECU to run a feasibility study to evaluate the potential impact of the Making it REAL (Raising Early Achievement in Literacy) programme on child and parent outcomes. This was complemented by an in-depth qualitative review carried out towards the end of the study which involved scrutiny of programme documentation (e.g. training materials, practitioner records) and interviews with a subsample of practitioners and parents about their experiences and perceptions of Making it REAL.