Families Connect Evaluation Report
Our Centre for Evidence and Social Innovation (CESI), in collaboration with Save the Children UK, The National Foundation for Educational Research and Nuffield Foundation, has 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, Aideen Gildea, presented the findings of the evaluation at a virtual event on 4 March involving key speakers from the four organisations as well as academics and practitioners from across the UK.
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.
Thirty-one schools from disadvantaged areas across 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.
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 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.