Last Updated: Thursday, December 08, 2022

Learning Together using Family Phonics in Primary 1 - St Bartholomew’s Primary School

What is this?

​​This exemplar outlines a co-ordinated partnership approach to family learning.

Who is this for?

​Community Learning and Development, teaching staff and partner agencies who work with children and families to promote partnership, early intervention and family learning.

​There are eight values that underpin the family learning National Occupational Standards and are fundamental to the success of this exemplar. These include:

  • Family learning recognises the role of the parent as the first educator.
  • Equal partnership is the basis for all developments in family learning: all learners and educators, regardless of generation, recognise that learners and educators can frequently exchange ideas.

Learning Together, Family Phonics is a family learning programme developed by Community Learning and Development in partnership with school staff including the headteacher, principal teachers, primary 1 teacher and parents/carers.

The aim of the programme is to promote family learning and increase children’s confidence in early literacy skills with the help of their parents/carers with a particular focus on phonics.

​The parents/carers, while working with their children, also gained an SQA accredited qualification in Speaking and Listening.

How to use this exemplar

The approaches and strategies in this exemplar are designed to support practitioners working with children and families.

Reflective questions were negotiated with all partners and include:

  • Do partners have clearly defined roles to meet the needs of the learners?
  • How can we use data effectively to inform our practice?
  • How do we remove barriers to participation?
  • How do we ensure an inclusive approach to family learning?
  • How do we measure impact?
  • How do we create a learning environment that captures the aspirations of the participants and wider family?​

Explore this exemplar

What was done?​

A co-ordinated partnership approach was key to the development and success of this programme with specific roles of partners including:

  • Use of school assessments to identify the children who require additional support to improve their confidence and attainment in phonics.
  • Engagement with parents/carers using informal meetings and discussions to understand need.
  • Arranging and negotiating suitable days and times at planning stage and engagement with parents/carers to ensure participation.

Activities, games and resources were designed and developed in collaboration with the class teacher. The learning was fun, interactive and relevant to the age and stage of the children’s development.

All learning materials were available for parents/carers to take home to continue the learning with their children and other family members.

The family learning sessions ran during school hours on Monday and Tuesday afternoons and all parents/carers invited to participate were fully committed to working with their children. This was evident through their continued attendance and the use of the learning resources at home.

Parents/carers were also encouraged to participate in an SQA accredited qualification in Speaking and Listening, which they successfully achieved.​


Parental and family engagement in their child’s education is a key factor in attainment and equity.

What was the impact?​

The participation of families in this programme has led to an increase in confidence for all of the children and has made the transition from nursery to school a smoother journey.

The parents/carers gained confidence and were more actively engaged in supporting their children’s learning.

Parents/carers also gained an SQA accredited qualification.

The programme demonstrated the importance of effective family learning and lifelong learning where both parents/carers and children achieve their agreed goals.

This was a positive learning experience for families and when asked to comment on their learning experience, parents/carers​ stated:

  • "I am learning too. I feel more ​confident in helping my child with their schoolwork."
  • "I play the games we take home with my other children as well."
  • "Great fun ways to learn. One of our favourites was the common words snakes and ladders game."
  • "I would like to thank everyone as I’ve noticed a real improvement with my daughter in a lot of stuff she has been learning, not only in the school but home too."
  • "These sessions for us personally were a real boost to my son, he has progressed in his reading level in school, and it has made a great boost in his confidence. I appreciate all the hard work and preparation put in by everyone.​"