An evaluative study of Sure Start as implemented in the Butetown, Riverside and Grangetown (BGR) area of cardiff.
University of Wales Institute, Cardiff
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This study wished to explore the extent to which Lifelong Learning objectives and Sure Start objectives complement each other. The enquiry also examined the effectiveness of Sure Start in breaking cycles of educational underachievement for families who were participating in Stay and Play sessions. A non-Sure Start funded Family Workshop was used as a comparative group. The study pointed to Sure Start and Lifelong Learning objectives being complementary in that through the Stay and Play sessions, staff were able to work with families developing both adult learning and the child's ability to learn. Further investigation is recommended into the take up of learning by the adults and what impact this has upon children's achievements. A link between parental attitudes to learning and their children's attitudes and consequent achievements emerged from the study. Respondents who expressed a disinterest in learning from their parents' perspective had either achieved little educationally, or were lacking the confidence to learn. Again, although the evidence is limited, the findings suggested that there was a stronger link between parents' attitudes and their children's achievements than parents' achievements and their children's achievements. The findings suggested that attendance at the Sure Start Stay and Play session may have assisted some parents to become more focussed and confident about their learning needs, however, their actual progression into the learning programmes they identified is beyond the scope of this study and it is recommended that further investigation is carried out. Both groups were attended solely by women, who were over 25 years old, exposing a lack of very young mothers or men attending. However, the Sure Start group was more effective at engaging with a diverse range of families in the local community. The non Sure Start group was effective at engaging with black and ethnic minority families who may experience social exclusion in many circumstances in Britain, but who were not excluded from learning in their countries of origin.
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