Home visiting programme in final few weeks of recruitment

Last chance

A unique project which aims to prepare preschool children for school is in its final few weeks of recruiting families in South Yorkshire.


Delivered by the national charity Family Lives, in partnership with South Yorkshire Futures and South Yorkshire's local authorities, ParentChild+ aims to improve the home-learning environment through home visits by trained workers.

Visits, sometimes described as a ‘mini-nursery in your home,’ occur twice a week for 15 months, with every family receiving at least 92 visits. Home visitors take a free toy or book with them each week. During the sessions, home visitors demonstrate with parents and children how to read, talk and play together. The activities aim to increase parent-child interaction, promote positive behaviour and encourage literacy skills which help to prepare the child for school.

Family Lives have been recruiting families since June and there are still a few places remaining before the last date for sign-up at the end of January.

The delivery in South Yorkshire is a randomised controlled trial of ParentChild+ to test the effectiveness of the programme in the UK. It is funded by the Education Endowment Fund, the Department for Education, and Shine Trust, and the trial will be evaluated by a team from the University of York, Durham University and Leeds Beckett University.

The project is working with South Yorkshire's four local authorities to identify families who are eligible for, but not taking up, the entitlement to free childcare for disadvantaged two-year-olds, including ‘children in need’ and children who are at risk of being behind their peers in terms of school readiness.

Research from the US shows intervening at pre-school age is more effective than targeting children when they start school.

The project has been delivered extensively in the US since 1965 and also in Chile, Bermuda, Canada and Ireland. It is currently being piloted in the UK in Ealing, Nottingham and Newcastle.

For press information: Caroline Fanshawe on 07730 213254 or email CarolineF@familylives.org.uk  or contact press@familylives.org.uk

Anyone interested in signing up for the programme should contact:

In Barnsley: Amy Wilson 07971 253000 or AmyW@familylives.org.uk

In Doncaster: Tina Cranshaw 07725 630309 or TinaC@familylives.org.uk

In Rotherham: Laura Ellison 07971253002 or LauraE@familylives.org.uk

In Sheffield: Sara Mohamed 07971253303 or SaraM@familylives.org.uk


Notes to Editors 

About South Yorkshire Futures

South Yorkshire Futures is a social mobility partnership committed to improving education and raising aspiration for young people in South Yorkshire - particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

About Sheffield Hallam University

Sheffield Hallam University's vision is to become the world's leading applied university, transforming lives and creating opportunities for people from all backgrounds.

As one of the UK's largest higher education providers, with over 30,500 students, the University is committed to the Sheffield City Region, providing leadership to drive improvements in social mobility, health and the economy.

Sheffield Hallam offers a comprehensive range of courses and is one of the country's largest providers of health and teacher training. Its industrial partnerships ensure that the knowledge students develop is relevant, addresses the skills gap and helps business grow.

The University’s research is characterised by a focus on real world impact - addressing the cultural, economic and social challenges facing society today.

About ParentChild+

ParentChild+’s international network of programme sites provides under-resourced families with the necessary tools to ensure their children achieve their greatest potential in school and in life. Since 1965, ParentChild+ has been assisting underserved communities in replicating and expanding this proven school readiness program that builds early parent-child verbal interaction and learning at home. Through twice-weekly visits by highly trained community-based Early Learning Specialists, ParentChild+ provides families with the skills, materials (books and educational toys), and support to help parents engage and teach their children. Over 50 years of research in the USA shows that the programme effectively increases school readiness, decreases the need for special education services before grade three by 50%, and increases participants high school graduation rates by over 30% to the same level as their middle-income peers. For more information please go to www.parentchildplus.org

About Family Lives

For more than 40 years Family Lives has been transforming the lives of lower-income and vulnerable families. We are a national charity and last year we engaged with over two million families delivering emotional support and practical advice on the phone, online, in the home, in schools and in the community.