National Forum for Family Learning Closing the Gap


Family Learning, Closing the Gap Forum

Thursday 3rd December 2015

Working with NIACE Cymru (as from January 1st The Learning and Work Institute), WCEE convened a national meeting of professionals working in school improvement, adult learning and community development. 

The meeting provided an opportunity to discuss the strategic development of work with families and communities aimed at supporting children’s educational attainment. Addressing the group about the value of family learning and its benefits for both children and families, Carol Taylor OBE, who led the National Inquiry into Family Learning described Family Learning ‘as a single intervention, delivered in a range of ways and in a range of settings, which has multiple outcomes for adults and children, for families and communities’.

Carols presentation highlighted the central importance of these issues and the tensions that exist in developing this work. Is family learning and parental engagement a strategy for school improvement and the means of closing the gap in pupil attainment for children living in poverty or is it a means of improving adult skills and employment opportunities? Perhaps over time it has the potential to address both, but caught in the horns of a dilemma, the measurement targets differ and the work siting between the two policy fields is often pulled in different directions. Understanding these tensions and finding constructive ways forward provides the broad agenda for the group. 

WCEE and Learning and Work Institute together, are committed to driving this work forward, we will convene practitioner-led meetings 2-3 times a year. Additionally we will draw together a smaller group of strategic leaders from the diverse organisations working in this field to develop alliances and engage with policy makers and politicians.

Presentations from this event can be found on the WCEE website under publications and recources. Further details are available from Christala Sophocleous at: