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CESI co-hosts Families Connect Evaluation Report (4 March 2021)

CESI, in collaboration with Save the Children UK, National Foundation for Educational Research and Nuffield Foundation, co-hosted, on 4 March 2021, a nationwide launch of an independent evaluation of the Families Connect programme.

The first few years of a child’s life are crucial, and poverty can have a long-lasting negative impact on children’s outcomes.

Organisations such as Education Endowment Fund have highlighted how progress in addressing the attainment gap for children living in disadvantage has been reversed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Centre for Evidence and Social Innovation, QUB, in collaboration with Save the Children UKNFER and Nuffield Foundation, have launched the final report of an independent randomised controlled trial and implementation evaluation of the Families Connect Programme.

Report co-author and CESI Research Fellow, Dr Aideen Gildea, presented the findings of the evaluation at a virtual event involving key speakers from each of the four organisations, as well as academics and practitioners from across the UK.

Thirty-one schools from disadvantaged areas across the UK (England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland) delivered Families Connect as part of the independent evaluation. A total of 499 children aged four to six from 483 families took part. The evaluation found that Families Connect increases parental engagement in children’s learning, improves parental skills, and improves aspects of children’s social and emotional development.

The report provides key learnings for policy makers, practitioners and researchers to improve best practice across the early years sector.

Professor Sarah Miller from CESI and Director of Campbell UK and Ireland chaired the advisory committee for this study. At the launch she discussed the findings from multiple trials on parent engagement programmes and in her concluding remarks she reflected on how this rigorous evaluation will make an important contribution, as Save the Children utilise this evidence and embed it in the future development and delivery of Families Connect.

The full Families Connect report can be read here and the Families Connect Executive Summary is here.

The agenda for the Families Connect evaluation report launch can be found here.

The summary briefing document can be accessed here.