What is this?

​This example describes the provision of a Family Learning club established over the school summer holidays in Dalmarnock Primary in Glasgow where families met for joint activities and a mid-day meal each day over a period of five weeks. The club was established with a range of partners within and out-with the local authority.

Who is this for?

​This exemplar may be useful to senior leaders considering setting up an out of school family learning and food club.

Improvement questions

  • What activities are already available within my local community to support families during holiday periods?
  • What is the level of concern around key poverty-related indicators within my school community over holiday periods: social isolation, financial hardship, learning loss, poor diet, limited social and play experiences?
  • Which partners do we have / to make to support our vision in establishing a summer club provision?

Planning

To run a family summer club for 50-60 families each day for five weeks is expensive so partnerships need to be forged to access funding. This club was jointly funded by Children in Scotland, Health, Housing, 3rd Sector partners and education services.

The school as the core venue has to be secured.

As food is a significant aspect of the club, liaison with catering services (within or out-with the local authority) has to ensure that appropriate food is available for both healthy snacks and lunch. While the vision of this club was to have parents prepare and cook a hot mid-day meal, food regulations did not allow that in the timescale available. Plans are in place to ensure this is possible next summer. Dietary and cultural requirements need to be considered.

Morning sessions for parents and children were run separately, to allow new friendships to be formed and skills to be learned. The children’s programme was pre-planned and themed across the weeks. It was delivered by Thriving Places and PEEK. They also took responsibility for child protection protocols, meaning the club could still run on days when no school staff were available to attend.

The parent programme evolved from need and request. It included input from health, housing, local beauty therapists, counsellors and opportunities to sit and chat over coffee.

The afternoon session involved facilitated ‘learning through play’ sessions with parents and children learning together and was also facilitated by partners.

Evaluation of the project was planned with support from university colleagues.

What was done?

Watch the video taken during the Summer Camp (https://vimeo.com/178001930).

A guidance sheet is currently being produced by HT Dalmarnock Primary, Glasgow.

Why?

Dalmarnock Primary school has 80%+ of its children living in SIMD 1. 60% receive free school meals and 30% of children have English as an additional language. 46 different languages are spoken in the school.
The summer club builds on the long-standing success of the school’s Homework Club which runs weekly. It allows parents to prepare a hot two course meal while children do their homework and enjoy facilitated and supervised play. Families then eat the meal together.

Parents had expressed concern over the length of the holiday, the expense involved in entertaining children and the social isolation many parents felt over the period while school was closed.

The school was also very mindful of the Cost of the School Day project and wanted to address the cost of the holidays in some way.