Last Updated: Wednesday, January 06, 2021

North Ayrshire Family Learning Team, North Ayrshire

What is this?

Find out how North Ayrshire Family Learning Team supported families during lockdown. 

Who is this for?

For all with an interest in Scottish education. 

What we did:

Initially during lockdown, the Family Learning Team offered each school additional support on a 1:1 basis with families through telephone contact or garden visits. Parents were contacted regularly and when school closures were extended, parents were overwhelmed about how to support their children’s learning at home and the abundance of information being shared online. The FLT designed a central information point through the development of a Family Learning website.

In partnership with schools, 268 families were identified to receive a learning at home resource pack and an accompanying activity booklet to support sustainable home learning activities throughout lockdown. FLT then developed supporting ‘How To’ activity videos shared with families through the website, social media and in partnership with the Youth Services Summer programme.

Returning to the new school year in the current climate, the FLT had to adapt their usual in-school delivery model to continue to provide family learning opportunities differently. Workers supported identified pupils in school to lead and deliver STEM or outdoor experiences at home with their families.

Appreciating concerns around wellbeing of pupils and their families, mental health and wellbeing programmes have been prioritised and are currently being delivered online. Families are then provided with supporting resources to experience together at home.

Who we involved:

The FLT worked in partnership with Schools to support identified families and gift learning at home packs; NHS and Lead Officers of MHWB to adapt online Wellbeing programmes and resources; Principal Teacher Science and SSERC to develop YSL programme Ranger service to develop outdoor learning. CLD to promote summer online programme.

The difference it made:

  • 1:1 support - Reduced anxieties around supporting their child and accessing services.
  • Website - Resources to provide ideas for learning at home to help parents understand how their child’s learning can be supported at home.
  • Learning at home packs - Reduce anxiety and enhanced parental confidence leading learning at home.

“Really boosted the children and helped me to feel confident supporting them on where to start. Was good to spend quality time together.” Parent, Irvine.

  • Wellbeing programmes - Provide tools that explore promoting wellbeing at home.

“It has made me think more about ways I can discuss with my teenage children their mental health using simple questions and strategies.” Parent Largs.

“It can be difficult to talk about concepts like mental health and well-being, and I was a bit apprehensive about attending. I was quickly made to feel at ease, and C and J were excellent. They were friendly, supportive and open. This created a really good environment to talk mental health. The materials were informative and the slides and booklet will be really useful. I am expecting to get a lot out of them” Parent, Beith Primary

  • Transition - Parents understand how their child will learn and how to their child’s transition into Primary 1/S1 whilst building relationships with their child's school.

“Gained a better understanding of how pupils learn in primary 1 to allow us to help us do fun tasks at home to add to this learning” Parent Kilwinning.

  • STEM and Outdoor learning - Pupils will gain leadership skills and recognition through YSL Award and Family John Muir Award which will improve conversations at home and support parents to nurture their child's interest.

What we will do differently in the future:

One of our biggest barriers faced when engaging with families are working parents who are unable to attend regular events in school. Offering online sessions has given more flexibility to parents/carers when accessing opportunities. Utilising our web pages to include information and resources for events held in school now allows access of resources for parent who are unable to attend.

Staff are more confident accessing technology to enhance programmes and in considering different ways to continue future programmes and events.

We have always worked well with a variety of partners but had been keen to work more closely with our colleagues in connected communities. Working alongside them in the hub and with the summer programmes has opened effective communication and we are now planning joint funding opportunities and utilising internal resources.