Poorer toddlers missing out – OFSTED

Half of  under two year olds who are entitled to free nursery places are not taking  up the offer, according to Sir Michael Wilshaw, Chief Inspector of OFSTED. Those from disadvantaged backgrounds can make huge strides to match the attainment of their wealthier peers, if they were able to attend he states. However, the department for Education disagrees.

Read article hereffd boy tree facejpg

Read a transcript of Sir Michael Wilshaw’s speech here

Poor Pupils Not Benefiting from Premium

Poor pupils are not reaping the benefits of the Pupil Premium in schools, according to the National Audit Office.SH2

Some two million children between  five and 16 qualify for  funding, out of seven million pupils. £2.5bn was given to schools in 2014-15 as pupil-premium funding – money allocated for children from poorer backgrounds. The aim  is to “close the gap” between richer and poorer children, by improving academic performance.

Amyas Morse head of the NAO states: “Early signs are that the Pupil Premium has potential, but it will take time for its full impact to become clear. As it takes the policy forward, the Department will need to review whether spending more in this way would allow it to close the attainment gap more quickly. The high degree of local discretion has benefits and costs. Some schools don’t appropriately focus funding on disadvantaged pupils, and some spend funds on activities which are not demonstrably effective.


Read the NAO summary report here

Read BBC News report here

NSPCC Figures Make Disturbing Reading for 2015

Picture5“Only by monitoring the extent of child abuse and neglect in the UK can we judge whether efforts to prevent maltreatment and to protect children are working.” This is according to Peter Wanless, NSPCC CEO,  after the organisation published worrying UK wide statistics for 2015.

In its key findings,  the organisation’s  ‘How Safe Are Our Children 2015’ report found that:

  • All 4 countries in the UK have seen the number of recorded sexual offences against children increase over the last year.
  • There’s been an increase in contacts to theNSPCC helpline and ChildLine about sexual abuse.
  • Neglect remains the most common form of child abuse in the UK.
  • However, the number of children dying as a result of homicide or assault remains in long term decline

The full report can be found here



Children May Not Be A Good Sport With Technology


The Youth Sports Trust claims that children might be losing out to sport and physical activity, because of their reliance on hand held devices. The Leicestershire based charity states that action is needed now to reform how PE and sport  is working in schools and has forecast how this could all look by the year 2035.

A report by the charity demonstrates how technology can be used to change PE and school sport, empower young people to take responsibility for their own activity levels and  that PE can play an important role in educating young people about healthy balance, in their lives.

Ali Oliver, Chief Executive of the Youth Sports Trust, said: “The digital revolution presents opportunities and challenges with young people potential hostages to their handheld devices.

The chief executive continues: “This report clearly signals that action is needed now to modernise the approach to PE and school sport and in doing so, guarantee the best possible future for generations to come.”

Please look at Report – Sport in Schools in 2035

Families Grow Together This Summer

Family Learning are running a summer camp for parents and their children between the 27th and the 29th of July 2015. The event at Horton Community Farm in Bradford,  invites you to experience the ‘Beauty of the Wild On Your Doorstep’.  Presentation1Learners will be be cooking on a campfire and working on a farm,  amongst other activities!

For more details contact Rachel at Family Learning on 01274 385521 or 07582 103459. Alternatively,  e mail her at Rachel.twort@bradford.gov.uk

Royal Family Learning and the Citizens Curriculum.

HRH The Princess Royal

This article is abridged and taken from our current newsletter. The original article is written by Family Learning Tutor, Laura Judge.

I negotiated my way across London to attend the NIACE Citizens’ Curriculum: A new agenda for Government, on 20 May 2015 after a 5am start.  Arriving at Central Hall Westminster, with 15 minutes to spare, felt like something of an achievement!

The morning session was in the presence of HRH The Princess Royal, patron of NIACE, who spoke passionately about the importance of literacy, numeracy and particularly digital skills being available to all. She listened to a pilot showcase then personally met and chatted to some of the learners who had benefitted from the scheme. Over coffee I discussed our “Frozen” project and outlined the aims and outcomes that our learners’ achieved. People were genuinely amazed and intrigued about how we achieved what we had set out to do in just 16 hours. The words that kept recurring again and again in feedback were “confidence” and “self esteem” – the very essence that underpins any self development and actualisation.

For me, the most inspirational part of the day was when two ladies from the Wirral spoke about their experiences of the Citizens’ Curriculum. Both brought up in the care system, with chaotic lifestyles they had missed out on a standard education and one of them had fallen into a situation where alcohol heavily influenced her life, leading to crime and a custodial sentence. Whilst the other had mild learning difficulties which were not picked up, thus limiting her progress. It was only in middle age, and with the help of FE that they were able to turn their lives around, improve self esteem and embark on a learning programme. To hear them speak eloquently about the benefits of education in later life was truly uplifting.


Windrush and Bradford

Migrants on the SS Empire Windrush in 1948
Migrants on the SS Empire Windrush in 1948

Sixty seven years ago today, migration was still in the news. However,  the event that started  the debate  in June 1948, was the arrival of the SS Empire Windrush. The boat, which docked at Tilbury Harbour in Essex, carried some 492 migrants, mostly Jamaican and Trinidadian men, who had fought in the war. They came on the invitation of the British government.  Workers then came from other West Indian islands, over the next 14 years, which helped to rebuild the UK after the Second World War,  forever changing the social history of the UK. These migrants were known as the ‘Windrush generation’.

Many from Jamaica as well as Dominica,  settled in Bradford primarily in the Heaton and West Bowling areas of the city. They worked in the mills and factories of Bradford. Many also worked in the city’s hospitals as well as the railways. It was estimated by 1961, some 170,000 West Indians lived in the UK.


Michelle Obama’s Message to Muslim Students – ‘Education is Key’

The First Lady of the United States of America,  Michelle Obama, made  a historic trip to a school in London’s East End yesterday, with a simple message – ‘Education is the key to success’.225px-Michelle_Obama_2013_official_portrait

Her triumphant visit to the Mulberry School For Girls,  in the London borough of Tower Hamlets, where the majority of the students are of Bangladeshi origin,  featured an emotional speech,  where she spoke about her own upbringing on the tough streets of South Chicago. Her parents, she said, encouraged her to work hard.  Tower Hamlets is one of the poorest boroughs in London.

The wife of the 44th president of the United States was promoting her ‘Let Girls Learn’ initiative,  which aims to encourage educational access for girls, in the developing world.

Pow! The New 2015-2016 Prospectus is Here!

Picture1Lead Officer for the Family Learning Service,  Sarah Odor, writes:

It is that time of year again and our new Family Learning Service prospectus for 2015-2016 is now available (click on picture). We hope that you are keen to book in courses for the new academic year.

We have made a number of changes to the courses on offer this year and hopefully there will be something for everyone, so please take the time to study the new prospectus and make your choices early.

The vast majority of courses continue to be available free of charge as long as learners meet the eligibility criteria for our funding (as outlined on page 7 of the prospectus).  We have also introduced a pricing structure allowing schools to invest in Family Learning via the pupil premium for those parents and carers who may have previously been excluded due to our funding restrictions.

The Family Learning team look forward to working with you again in the new school year and we hope 2015-2016 will be successful and enjoyable for us all. We look forward to receiving your application form.