Share is a national demonstration project developed by the Community Education Development Centre (CEDC), now called ContinYou. It aims to strengthen the quality of parents' involvement in their children's learning, and recognise them as one of the most positive and worthwhile influences in improving children's educational attainments. In each school taking part in the programme, a teacher works with parents and shows them how to use the Share materials with their children at home. These are literacy-based activities, with an emphasis on the shared learning experience. Parents can be accredited through the Open College Network for their work in supporting their child's learning.
It is used in infant/primary and secondary schools in local education authorities all over the country. Share began in 1996 as a pilot project involving 20 schools in five local education authorities. It has since expanded into over 90 LEAs, with over 1000 schools taking part. Originally offered at key stage 1 (5 and 6-year-olds), Share is available at key stage 2 (7 to 11-year-olds), and key stage 3 (11 to 13-year-olds), with work at Foundation Stage being developed during 2003. The Share project has three aims: to improve the educational attainment of children; to motivate parents to take an active interest in their children's education and to further their own education; and to develop effective management and organisation of parental involvement.
Share/Plus is a selection of materials to be used with parents and carers of children, aged 4 to 12, who live in disadvantaged areas. The materials deal with issues that concern parents, such as children's behaviour, bullying, children's learning, and effective family communication. Funded by the Home Office, Share/Plus is being piloted by ContinYou and Parentline Plus in 15 of the 50 most disadvantaged authorities. Any agency or voluntary group which is keen to support parents and their children's learning can use Share/Plus. These include;
- Education Action Zones
- The Education Welfare Service
- Sure Start
- Early intervention services
- Crime prevention
- Adult education and;
- Agencies promoting lifelong and community-based learning.
The materials can be adapted, depending on the context in which they will be used. They could be used as a taster to engage parents, a focus for social groups or they could be developed into a full course.
Reports produced on Share include:
- Share: An evaluation of the first two years, John Bastiani, CEDC, 1999
- Share at Key Stage 2: pilot project 1999 Evaluation report, Ann Lewis, CEDC, 2000
- An evaluation of Share at Key Stage 3, Lesley Kendall, CEDC, 2002
- An evaluation of Share at Key Stage 3 found that methods of recruiting parents onto the programme varied, and suggested that the pilot programme did not fully reach the most "hard to reach" group of parents. However, in some cases teachers went out of their way to encourage parents to attend, including driving them from home to meetings. A number of teachers suggested that early liaison with "feeder" primary schools, and integrating Share into existing school-home liaison policies, would improve recuitment and retention.
A relatively small number of parents returned the evaluation questionnaires, but of those who did, a considerable number indicated that they were already involved in their child's learning and enjoyed reading and writing before Share. The main benefits that they identified included the chance to meet and talk to other parents and a better understanding of the school and what it is trying to achieve. 21 parents out of 35 felt that Share had improved their child's literacy skills and 31 that it had improved the child's study skills. 15 felt that they had improved their own skills in some way, and 19 appreciated the opportunity to gain accreditation. 28 out of 39 pupils said that Share helped them with their school work, and 17 that it helped them with their reading and writing.
- For more information on Share visit http://www.continyou.org.uk/content.php?CategoryID=396&ArticleID=281
- For Share/Plus visit http://www.continyou.org.uk/content.php?CategoryID=266&ArticleID=113
- Contact: ContinYou Coventry, Unit C1, Grovelands Court, Grovelands Estate, Longford Road, Exhall, Coventry CV7 9NE Tel: 024 7658 8440 Fax: 024 7658 8441 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Assessing the evidence on parental involvement - article by Viv Bird, Project Director - Literacy and Social Inclusion. From Literacy Today, September 2003. Getting parents on board - article on Share by Teresa Johnson, national Share manager. From Literacy Today, March 2002.