Nottingham City Council’s Family Learning Service aims to support local parents by giving them opportunities to become more involved in their children’s education and improve their own skills at the same time.

The service which was founded in 2006 is part of the Council’s commitment to support people in the city who want to improve the educational success and career prospects of their children and works by involving parents, some of whom may need additional support with their own basic skills.

The service provides a wide range of learning opportunities, with a majority of courses delivered in primary and nursery schools across the city, something which makes it easier for parents and carers to engage with their children in these settings.

Family Learning sessions are designed to be as enjoyable as possible for both adults and children and aim to help families bond over a shared understanding of their own learning. All learners are encouraged and supported to achieve their full potential and start on a journey which can develop into a positive experience of lifelong learning.

The Family Learning service seeks to support residents in areas of the city with the greatest social and economic disadvantage and by increasing their skills and understanding of how their children are being taught, enables them to raise their aspirations together and end successive unemployment which can have a long term impact on families.

As well as providing free guidance and support in ways which people find easy to access and which responds to their learning and development needs, Family Learning sessions are run by high-quality training tutors at venues which are easy for people to get to and within their own community.

They offer families the opportunity to take part in digital skills workshops, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects. Parents are also able to take part in financial capability, parenting skills and health & well-being sessions.

Councillor Sam Webster, Portfolio Holder for Business, Education and Skills at Nottingham City Council, said; “The Family Learning services is a great example of the kind of work which goes on in communities across Nottingham to provide advice and support to local families who experience a range of educational challenges.

“Participating in education as a family helps people increase their knowledge and aspirations together. This valuable service not only helps young people but gives parents an understanding of the skills needed in the local jobs market and learn to support their children to thrive and find suitable and sustainable employment in the future.”

In the past twelve months, over 800 local people have taken part in learning activities with the team in over 60 venues across Nottingham. Activities are usually run in primary schools and children’s centres but sessions have also taken place in secondary schools, Nottingham Ice Arena and HMP Nottingham.

Case Study: Simpy Kaur

Simpy enrolled on a Family Learning course called Family SEAL (Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning) at her son’s nursery (Nottingham Nursery and Training Centre) in November 2016.

After completing this 8-week course Simpy progressed onto another 8-week course called Feel Good Families also at Nottingham Nursery.

Simpy says that she benefitted from these courses in three main ways:

  • She learnt new ideas and ways of improving her son’s and her own well-being (bed time routine, managing fussy eating and other behaviours, stress management)
  • She learnt about children’s social and emotional development and how to help her son develop important life skills such as friendship, empathy, motivation and self-esteem
  • She developed her own communication skills and confidence and made friends with other parents at Nottingham Nursery. She also discussed her future learning and employment needs with her Family Learning Tutor and Futures Career staff and was signposted to a Family Maths course at New College Nottingham. Simpy has now passed a Level 1 Maths qualification

Support from Family Learning means that Simpy is able to give back to her local community and volunteers two days a week at Nottingham Nursery and Training Centre. She is also enrolled on Level 2 Maths and English courses and taking driving lessons. Simpy’s goal is to gain a teaching qualification through applying for a teaching apprenticeship.