Highbury College, a further education college in Portsmouth, participated in the Family Learning Festival 2018 by running a day of informal workshops for English and Maths students and their parents.
The launch of family learning at Highbury College
Highbury College saw the Family Learning Festival as an ideal opportunity to launch the start of a wider positive engagement with families. Highbury College took advantage of the festival to run the first of their family engagement sessions and ran a day of workshops designed to help parents understand and gain a greater knowledge of the reformed GCSEs. The workshops were also a chance to give parents an understanding of how they can support their child through their studies.
The family workshops were seen as a vital way to engage families in future workshops - all designed to promote family learning but an opportunity to build positive relationships with parents. Highbury College recognise that family learning is not something that is usually offered at post 16 but they feel that it is vital to ensure they do everything to support students and parents through the learning process at post 16.
To kick start the family learning, Highbury College offered a number of workshops about the reformed GCSEs – there is still a lot of confusion among parents, about the reformed GCSEs and the first of the family learning sessions was a wonderful opportunity for lead English and Maths staff at Highbury to clarify the changes.
Families were able to learn why the GCSEs were reformed, how the GCSEs have changed, the content for both the Maths and English GCSE (included parents looking at past exam papers and attempting an English and Maths GCSE task) and how parents can support a ‘reluctant’ teenager.
Parent feedback was extremely positive. Some of the comments included:
‘I like the fact that things were explained particularly Maths problems as I could not do the task but my child could which improved their confidence’
‘My children are dyslexic and did not receive this type of support in their junior or senior school’
‘Tthe workshop gave me a higher understanding of the GCSE exams and the grading system’
‘enjoyed the Maths task’
‘Gave me an understanding of what my child has to endure’
‘Finally, having some good information on GCSEs, resources available, advice and information on how exams are marked and strategies to use’
Parents were invited to follow up revision sessions and invited to a series of taster sessions on promoting a Growth Mind Set and pre-GCSE courses to enable them to ‘brush up’ on their own skills.
The Family Learning Festival has certainly helped Highbury College engage parents in what they hope is a first step to greater positive relationships with families.
For more information about Highbury’s Family Learning session contact
John Dyer (Lead Maths Lecturer) [email protected]
Tracey James (Lead English Lecturer) [email protected]