Hywel Francis Award for Community Impact Winner
Families Learning Together CAVC
Nominated by: Cardiff and Vale College
Sponsored by: The Open University in Wales
The Families Learning Together programme at Cardiff and Vale College delivers a wide range of courses for adults and parents in over 80 schools throughout Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan.
The courses provide families with the tools and knowledge to help parents support their children to learn whilst developing their own lifelong skills. Each course is tailored to the needs of the family cohort and supports the development of Literacy, Numeracy, Welsh, Speaking and Listening, Science, Digital Skills, and English as a Second Language.
Wayne Carter, Head of Department for Widening Participation at Cardiff and Vale College said: “It has been a humbling experience to listen to learners sharing stories of the impact learning has had on them, their children and their families. In our sessions, many of the adult learners talk about the hope that they feel, the sense of belonging they have found, and their excitement about their futures.”
Each course runs for 10 weeks, with approximately three hours of learning each week, and classes are held in-person within school settings. This enables the building of positive relationships with the school and provides a structured programme of joint learning between adults and children.
During the pandemic, the team adapted all programmes so they could be delivered online, and new provision was developed to help parents support their children’s education. This included creating new educational games and assisting adults to support Key Stage 3 secondary school students. The key success of the programme is the collaboration between tutors, the schools and more importantly the voice and needs of the adult learners.
Wayne said: “The provision offers second chances for adults to develop their own skills whilst supporting their children’s education. During the programme many learners talk of their missed opportunities when they were at school and the programme has provided a spark for their own journey back into further education, training or employment. Families tell us about the positive outcomes of the programme such as, improved mental health and well-being, building positive relationships with their children, other parents, their local school and community. It is great to see families realise that they can achieve amazing things.”
From the period September 2022 to December 2022, Families Learning Together has delivered 57 courses in 46 schools across Cardiff and the Vale, with 435 adult learners developing new skills and 890 children supported to learn alongside.
Wayne continued: “The team see first-hand the implications of the cost-of-living crisis and can support their learners practically and emotionally. The tutors distribute free period dignity care products discreetly in sessions and support them to access student discount apps for free food and heavily discounted products.”
There is now a waiting list from schools seeking future provision. The team aim to continue promoting adult learning to families and are passionate about creating second chances for people in the most disadvantaged communities.
“The programme is not just about learning; it is a civic mission. An opportunity to provide second chances, to create a culture of learning and to bring communities in areas of the highest need together. It’s about providing opportunities to prosper and to live in a more equal community,” said Wayne.