Since the inception of the Project the teams have been involved in setting up the service, developing its provision as well as recruiting new parents onto the Project. The gains in confidence, skills and ability to respond to challenges demonstrated by these project teams has far outshone any preconceived expectations held by the managers of the project. Each team is responding to the individual needs of families in their area, and encouraging parents, in addition to supporting their children's developmental and educational needs, to take up opportunities in further education themselves.
With the standardisation of the National Curriculum in all schools in the UK, parents have had to face changes in the type of work their children are learning in school. The type of mathematics taught and the emphasis on science as a major subject at primary school level means that many parents are ill-equipped to support their children with homework. It is encouraging to see that parents involved in the Project have identified their requirements with regard to their children's school work and have initiated a response from the teams to meet these needs.
The main focus of the Project is to provide a home visiting service which more than 500 families so far have taken up. The teams have also established links and are actively working with 35 agencies in the Greater Shankill area in an attempt to develop a support network for families in the community. It is through the development of a community support infrastructure and the empowerment of parents to utilise the available opportunities, that the Project seeks to meet its objectives.
This is a most exciting development which hopefully will lead in time to a strengthening of the important links between home and school.
Belfast Education and Library Board