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Parent Information Sessions in Schools - An Evaluation


Background

The National Family and Parenting Institute (NFPI) commissioned the Policy Research Bureau (PRB) to undertake a one year research study to evaluate an innovative new 'single-session' parenting information programme. The evaluation focused on the impact of the programme, its costs and various other aspects of implementation.

There has been a growing policy and practice interest in parenting education and support in the UK, and this has been reflected in recent years with the rise in the numbers of innovative parenting schemes. In 2001 NFPI completed a report on the Mapping of Family Services in England and Wales (Henricson, 2001). One of the recommendations from this report was to provide parents with 'single, universal parent information sessions' where they could access information on a variety of issues that affect children and young people. NFPI in partnership with the Gulbenkian Foundation designed a pilot programme of parenting sessions to be delivered in three areas: Kirklees, Stockport and Tower Hamlets, between February to July 2003. The pilots operated with one secondary comprehensive school and two of their feeder primary schools. They offered sessions to parents of children who fell into three age groups:

  • Entry to primary school (reception class, age five)
  • Transition to secondary school (Year seven, age eleven)
  • Transition to adolescence and pre-GCSE (Year nine, age fourteen)

Each session was organised on an 'open access' basis lasting up to two hours. Parents were encouraged to share and hear information about child development. In addition to this, parents had the opportunity to meet representatives from a variety of agencies, such as Sure Start, ConneXions, Children information Services, the youth service, CAMHS etc.


What did the research involve?

The evaluation used both quantitative and qualitative methods. Quantitative methods included a brief 'quiz style' 'before' and 'after' self-completion survey of parents. The survey focused on parent satisfaction with the session and measured any changes between pre and post session responses in relation to:

  • Knowledge and confidence about child development issues at key 'transitional' phases in children's lives
  • Readiness to access family support
  • Awareness of other family support services

A short telephone survey of parents who were invited to attend a parenting session but chose not to participate also formed part of the research. The purpose of the telephone survey was to look at the reasons behind non-participation and explore what approach organisers could have taken in engaging non-participants.

Timescale

The Programme evaluation ran from January 2003 to February 2004.

Final product of the research

PRB is committed to targeted dissemination of our work, in order to contribute to policy debates and to the development of good practice.

A final report was submitted to NFPI in February 2004, and has now been published. It included conclusions and recommendations and a stand-alone executive summary of the most important findings.

Bhabra S and Ghate D (2004) Parent Information Point: Evaluation of the Pilot Phase. London: National Family and Parenting Institute.


See Publications for further details.


Last updated May 2004