Through our work with children and their teachers, it was made explicitly aware to us that working with parents would make a significant contribution to raising the aspirations of our communities. The need came from the parents and a training course was designed to meet their requirements.

For many of the parents, we work with attending a course is an experience which is both daunting and fraught with risk. We work very hard to establish and maintain relationships based on mutual respect and trust. It is essential to the success of the course that the parents become a community who will continue to support and to care for each other once the course has come to an end.

Common too many of our courses are the negative experiences that many of the parents share of their own school days. A major outcome is to assess and reframe negative attitudes towards learning and education. Parents inquire into current research about how they and their children learn. Together we explore barriers which many of the parents have to learning and we offer solutions to help them become ‘unstuck’ so that they will be able to support themselves and their children to break down their barriers.

We encourage a thoughtful dialogue into current teaching and learning practice to enable the parent to be in a stronger position to support their own and their child’s learning at home and at school. Strategies and tools are introduced which support the parent’s and child’s behavior, attitude and beliefs. So this is actually a Radical Encouragement Course.

Course participants have shared their thoughts with us

I have realized that there are many different ways to learn and everyone is a different learner. I have really enjoyed the course and I think it would be beneficial to many more parents

I have changed the way in which I deal with my children. I have used ideas and concepts from the course and I have already seen positive results in their responses and I feel good about myself

Not only did I learn how to help my child, but also myself

I now feel that I will not be left behind. When my son comes home from school we can talk together and learn together

I feel that I can help my children to learn, be motivated and interested in school and the world around them

In response to a request from parents, the idea of parent coaches has evolved. Parents are keen to encourage their peers to take part in the process and many have accepted the challenge to become a parent coach. This will involve them being supported to prepare, coach and recruit other parents to engage in a lifelong learning experience.