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Family Learning working in partnership with Neighbourhood Management


Elizabethville is in the top 10% nationally in 2010 Index of Multiple Deprivation. Elisabethville is a priority neighbourhood. A key priority for us and the Councillors is to rebuild communities and families, help people back into work.

Mothers, fathers, grandparents and carers who live on the Elizabethville Estate, Birtley, one of the most deprived areas in Gateshead. The estate has a community house ran by a residents, that was being under utilised. Family Learning started delivering programmes initially to small groups of learners who were unemployed aged 16-60 and who came from families where 3rd generation unemployment is common place. Through intensive tutor support the learners confidence grew and they recognised the benefits of being able to help their children which encouraged them to invite other members of the community to participate. Family Learning created a tailor made programme that captured the variety of teaching methods used in schools to accommodate the different needs of parents, grand parents and carers. The group had never been able to help their children with their homework but through hard work and determination their confidence and self esteem improved.

The group became empowered and started to make informed choices about their health and well being. A major barrier was childcare, the groups new found confidence, improved communication, negotiation and team working skills led them to reach a sustainable solution, they supported each other by taking turns to look after each others children, each session the learner missed would be captured in a homework club ran by the learners. Through the development of soft skills and intensive support from the tutor the group progressed onto working towards literacy and numeracy qualifications, recognising this would improve their employability skills and further support their children’s attainment.

Benefits for the adults

  • enhance their ability to support the child’s education
  • undertake family learning together
  • talk regularly with their child about their learning/what they have been doing at school
  • being able to help their children is more important than occupation, education or income
  • use and understand language that is used in school i.e. phonics, chunking, grid method
  • created a culture of learning at home
  • improved their own skills and confidence
  • help them to understand how to support the development of the child’s skills.
  • Identify that they are ready to gain qualifications and improve their skills to help them gain employment or progress to further learning

Benefits for the children

  • children are motivated to learn
  • attendance has improved at school
  • children’s attitude towards learning is different
  • children’s behaviour has improved
  • children and adults have been doing their homework together – develop a family unit

Benefits to the local community

  • the improved attainment of adults and children as a result of family members taking part in intergenerational activities
  • improved educational attainment, increased self-esteem, better family relationships
  • increased confidence in helping their children
  • increased skills of adults that could lead to work, volunteering in school and
  • the local community

This model demonstrates how working in partnership with a wide range of organisations (Neighbourhood Management, Family Learning, Skills for Jobs, schools and local communities) can support those most vulnerable in society. This delivery model has been extremely cost effective. Neighbourhood Management have supported delivery by helping with costs towards room hire, resources and publicity.

To date the group have completed a variety of informal workshops including creating a silk banner that will be displayed in the local community centre. They have achieved qualifications in first aid and health and hygiene. They are now working towards achieving literacy and numeracy qualifications through the motivation of helping their children. The Skills for Jobs team have helped the group to create a CV and develop their job search techniques.


Brian Kielty – Neighbourhood Management Officer

“What a difference this has made not just in terms of progression to further learning, but in their own and their families’ lives and they are aware and talking about future opportunities.”


“I have always wanted to write a book but lacked literacy skills, I slept through classes and was often dismissed from school. I never thought I would achieve my dream but I have started to put words on paper.”

Christine Bonnar – Family Learning Development Officer

“The group is very diverse but work well together, they have supported one another above and beyond my expectations, I am really proud of their achievements and the difference this programme has made to their families’ lives.