This report evaluates the impact of the National Literacy Trust’s Everyone Ready for School programme in Darlington which ran for two years from 2018 to 2020 with evaluation findings collated from the first year of this project.
Everyone Ready for School is a family learning programme designed to support transitions from pre-school to primary school, encourage school readiness through developing the home learning environment, promote book sharing and positive literacy behaviours and foster parent/school engagement. Six hour-long sessions based on a core text are delivered in the summer term and take place at the school the child will attend the following September. The training encourages practitioner reflection on how supportive they are to more vulnerable families to develop the home learning environment through their attitudes, behaviour and current practice. The training and programme guides focus on ‘ready children, ready families and ready schools’ with the ultimate aim of ‘everyone’ being ready for school.
During 2018 and 2019 ten schools working with eight attached feeder nursery units, one maintained nursery and one day nursery, with a total of 97 families participated in the sessions, contributed to this evaluation. The second year of the programme involved 17 schools with 13 attached nurseries and six additional pre-school settings; unfortunately the second year of Everyone Ready for School delivery was disrupted through the Covid-19 lockdown over spring and summer 2020.
An evaluation of the programme was undertaken between September 2019 and January 2020 by Chiara Cappellini, Evaluation Manager, and Sian Hackett, Evaluation Intern at the National Literacy Trust.
The National Literacy Trust research report key findings include:
- Parents are more confident engaging with schools with 95% of parents saying they are now more confident talking to staff at the school
- Parents are more confident in supporting their child’s school readiness with 60% of participating parents telling us they are more confident in sharing a book with their child
- Parents are more likely to engage in behaviours that promote school readiness with over half (54%) of parents now sharing stories with their child more than before as a result of the programme
- Practitioners are more likely to discuss the home learning environment with parents with 79% of practitioners encouraging parents to share books with their children (versus 50% before the programme)
- Practitioners are more confident interacting with parents with 93% of practitioners now feeling more confident in giving advice to parents about their child’s language and communication compared with only 71% before the programme
- Practitioners felt that the training has contributed to their professional development with 100% saying that the training has improved their understanding of the programme very significantly
- Children are more likely to engage in behaviours that promote school readiness with 65% of parents saying their child listens to stories more and 65% saying their child enjoys singing more than before
- A large proportion of the children who took part in the programme progressed in their development beyond expected levels with over half (49%) of all participating children progressing beyond expected levels in physical development, almost two in five experienced accelerated development in communication and language (39%) and about one in three (35%) had faster-than expected progress in their personal, social and emotional development