FET sector launch two reports that focus on family learning

April 30, 2020

Online discussion on family literacy

Many parents find it challenging to support their children’s learning, particularly during the Covid-19 lockdown, a  time when they may need more assistance.That’s according to SOLAS the Further Education and Training  Authority.

SOLAS has today published two reports, Enabling Intergenerational Learning; and Family Literacy Practice in ETBs, that focus on the needs of parents who themselves struggle with literacy and numeracy, and which outline how parents can help both themselves and their children to develop good literacy and numeracy skills. The benefits for the family unit when parents are actively involved in delivering and supporting their child’s educational development are also highlighted.

Informative case studies on the varied, practical and enriching ways parents can help their children learn, as well as good practice guidelines and recommendations on family literacy are also included in the research.

Commenting today Mr Andrew Brownlee CEO of SOLAS said: “Unfortunately, too many people in Ireland still experience literacy and numeracy difficulties. We welcome this research and look forward to working with our partners in the FET sector to further strengthen our work around Family Literacy, and in ensuring we continue to provide the best supports for those who need it.”


Family Literacy Practice in ETBs

This is the first time family literacy practices in ETBs have been researched at a national level and the research findings highlight the impressive and creative approaches to family literacy across ETBs.

Enabling Intergenerational Learning

This report presents evidence of best practice in family literacy in ETBs in Ireland. The report includes a comprehensive literature review which covers a history of family literacy, findings from national and international research and an outline of relevant policy. Three case studies illustrate different types of family literacy activity; an integrated approach to literacy through sewing; a school-based FET/DEIS partnership and a family literacy cookery programme developed for those with mental health issues.


Covid-19 challenges

The nationwide school closure and the Covid-19 restrictions have led to the classroom being replaced with the kitchen table for children to learn and do school work which is currently being provided by their teachers online or through other methods. These circumstances have led to many parents playing a far more active role in supporting their children with their studies, and their role in their children’s learning is more important than ever.

Andrew Brownlee added “Understandably, this can be quite daunting for parents who find literacy and numeracy challenging. The further education and training sector is here to support parents in these areas – Education and Training Boards across the country offer a range of literacy and numeracy supports and NALA is providing free over the phone tuition to help those with literacy difficulties at this time.”

Report Recommendations

The National Adult Literacy Agency (NALA) was commissioned to conduct this research on behalf of SOLAS and ETBI, and engaged the practice expertise of family literacy experts Dr. Maggie Feeley and Dr. Ann Hegarty.

The reports provide a set of recommendations for the FET sector on extending and strengthening family literacy. The key recommendations focus on collaboration, planning and delivery, and training and development.

Thanking the many family literacy programmes that gave so generously of their time to make the project a reality, Dr. Inez Bailey, CEO at National Adult Literacy Agency, said: “We hope that the resulting guidelines, case studies and recommendations do justice to the stories shared by learners and practitioners and reflect the great vision, dedication and skill evident in family literacy across ETBs. We are deeply grateful to the many family literacy stakeholders who gave generously of their time during the research process”

Fiona Maloney, Director of Further Education and Training Support Services at ETBI, praised the 16 Education and Training Boards (ETBs) that were centrally involved in the research process. “These guidelines and recommendations reflect the innovative practices in family literacy across ETBs We are extremely grateful to staff in ETBs for taking part in the research process. Not only does family literacy support access to richer educational experiences for children and their parents, it also opens so many other opportunities in further education and training for the learner “

For more information on the range of literacy and numeracy supports available please contact your local ETB, or NALA on 1800 20 20 65 nala.ie




Contact: Ciarán Garrett Alice PR & Events, Tel: 087-7158912 Email: media@alicepr.com.


Notes to Editors:

SOLAS is the state organisation with responsibility for funding, planning and co-ordinating Further Education and Training (FET) in Ireland. Further information on SOLAS can be found at: www.solas.ie.


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