Almost all early years children taking part in a pilot SHINE project at four Bradford primary schools had achieved the expected standard for communication and language skills by the end of the initiative.
At one school, Beckfoot Allerton, none of the participating children were at the expected level in communication and language development or personal, social and emotional development when they first joined Passport to Confidence. By the end of the project, 100% had reached the expected standard, and are on track to succeed at school.
It was a similar story at other schools involved in the project. Analysis shows that each child involved has made significant improvements in these academic areas.
Passport to Confidence was a two-year project, funded by SHINE, which involved schools within the Beckfoot Trust working together to improve the communication and language skills of 0-5-year-olds and increase parental confidence in helping their children develop these skills.
Parents say their confidence has grown through taking part in the project, enabling them to play a more effective role in their children’s education.
One participating parent said: “My son has a routine now. After his dinner, he asks me for his box of activities and sits with me to complete two every day. I let him choose and he lets his younger sister join in too. I have gained a lot of confidence in delivering these activities due to all the practice and support I have received during the sessions.”
A skilled early years teacher led sessions, showing parents activities they could do with their children. Parents were also shown how they could share the activities with other parents.
Project lead Jaswinder “Jas” Kaur said: “Initially parents were shy and unsure but gained confidence with practice.”
Jas created “how-to guides” to support the parents in leading the sessions.
She said: “The support they have for each other will ensure that those who are less confident in leading the session can still participate and possibly entice other, quieter parents.”
The parents taking part are keen for the sessions to continue. One said: “We really felt as a group that we needed to continue this and have started our own Friends of Phoenix group hoping that other parents can join and learn all that Jas has taught us during the past months.”
A timetabled weekly space in each school will ensure that these parents can continue to support others in the coming months and years.