COVID-19: Continued PEN support

In this challenging time, when schools are working hard to put together home learning resources, we’d like to reassure you that PEN is working as hard as ever to help you support your families. We are developing a range of Family Home Learning Activity Sheets based around the curriculum.

The resources will be suitable for all primary age children, the first of which will be available at the end of this week, with more available throughout the crisis period.

Whilst we understand that schools and parents will be keen for learning to continue at home, we feel it is important to acknowledge the huge amount of change happening. Families need time to adjust to living, working and playing together, so they can establish new routines that keep all members of the family safe and well.

PEN has a history of working closely with schools to respond to need, so please get in touch with us if there’s something we can do for you. In this unprecedented situation, good parental engagement is more important than ever and we’re here to support you in any way we can.

If you haven’t already, consider signing up for our mailing list or becoming a member.

We’ll be trialling resources via membership in advance of sharing them with schools and community organisations. Our membership is reduced to £150 for the duration of the crisis and gives access to lots of other resources you might also find useful in this difficult time.

Latest activity figures on children and young people published

Children’s activity levels are on the rise, according to Sport England’s second annual Active Lives Children and Young People Survey.

The report, covering the academic year 2018/19, was published in December, with figures showing an increase of 3.6% in the number of children in England doing an average of 60 minutes or more of physical activity a day.

That means that 46.8% of the nation’s children and young people are meeting the recommended level, with the increase driven by more out of school activity – including increases in active play, team sports and walking.

Find out more and read the report here.

We are recruiting again for Active Families schools!

New schools needed for our successful Sport England Lottery Funded project!

Following a successful trial by 9 schools across Manchester, Parental Engagement Network is looking for 30 more Manchester schools to benefit from this fantastic funded project for start dates in September 2019, January 2020 and May 2020. To apply, please fill in and return the application form to [email protected] by 10th May. Any queries please ring 0161 860 5039 Active Families Project application form Recruitment Info  

This project is for your school if you want to:

  • Improve the health and wellbeing of families at your school
  • Improve children’s fitness levels and their readiness to learn
  • Develop the skills of parent volunteers to support other families and the school
  • Increase parental engagement and support the school’s community cohesion
  • Develop a longer term sustainable model to enable families to get more active together in a fun and accessible way
  • Enable families to develop positive networks and reduce isolation.
This project is aimed primarily at families from low socio-economic groups (parents whose highest qualification is GCSE, low paid workers or those on benefits). If these families are a minority at your school, we may still able to work with you but we would have to ensure that mainly the target families would access the project.

What does the project involve?

We will train a member of staff and three parent volunteers from each school as Family Activity Champions and enable them to facilitate groups of families to commit to becoming more active together, through:
  • A series of fun after-school activity sessions for families of all abilities
  • A free equipment pack for families to take home and use together
  • A series of home activity sheets, where families are given activities or challenges to do together at home to try and increase their regular daily activity levels
  • Prizes and certificates.

PEN will provide:

  • A briefing for a senior leader and training for the staff supporting the project
  • A complete pack of resources, support materials and tip sheets for unlimited use throughout the school
  • Ongoing support and visits to the school
  • Opportunities to recognise, celebrate and publicise nationally the successful outcomes at your school
  • NVQ accreditation for Champions (optional)
  • Network opportunities for Active Families Schools
  • A reduced membership offer

If your application is successful we will need you to:

  • Allocate a member of SLT to have an overview of the project and support its development including enabling recruitment, publicity, monitoring, evaluation and celebration of successful families
  • Allocate one or two members of staff to be involved with the project including helping to facilitate the after school sessions at the school, supporting the Family Activity Champions and encouraging families to do the home and community activities
  • Recruit appropriate parents to be Champions and support them in attending the training
  • Identify and encourage targeted families to attend the sessions
  • Provide a hall, gym or suitable venue for approx. 10 families to do activities immediately after school one day a week for at least 18 weeks of the year
  • Ensure staff attend the briefings, training and review sessions
  • Make some equipment available for sessions. e.g. balls, beanbags and bibs
  • In the second year, pay a small contribution towards resources (approx. £300) out of the school’s Sports Premium funding
  To apply, please fill in and return the application form to [email protected] by 10th May. Any queries please ring 0161 860 5039 Active Families Project application form Recruitment Info  

EEF guidance on working with parents

The EEF has published new recommendations on working with parents to support their child’s learning, which reviews the best available research to offer schools and teachers four recommendations to support parental engagement in children’s learning.

The guidance report, which you can find here, is designed to support primary and secondary schools to work with parents – particularly those from disadvantaged homes.

It offers four clear and actionable recommendations which we hope will support an evidence-informed approach.

Welcoming our new Managing Director

We are pleased to introduce Janet Davies as PEN’s new Managing Director. Janet has worked with PEN since its beginning, as a trainer and consultant. She is excited about taking PEN forward into its new phase. She can be contacted on [email protected]. Emma Beresford has taken the decision to retire from her post as Executive Director of PEN, and has been responsible for recruiting and developing a team of dedicated and talented professionals who are committed to working with the organization as it continues to grow and transition to the next phase of development.   PEN has also moved offices. Our new address is: Parental Engagement Network CIC Ground Floor East Oakland House Talbot Road M16 0PQ

PEN founder Emma retires

Emma Beresford has taken the decision to retire from her post as Executive Director of PEN. Emma has been the founder and Executive Director of PEN since its inception in 2011 and has achieved a great deal in establishing and developing a highly effective community interest company with a national profile and reputation for delivering excellence. Emma has succeeded in securing significant amounts of grant funding from a range of national organizations and ensuring that PEN continues to thrive as a viable and financially secure business. She has been responsible for recruiting and developing a team of dedicated and talented professionals who are committed to working with the organization as it continues to grow and transition to the next phase of development. We are very grateful to Emma for her dedication, passion and commitment over the last seven years and we wish her great health and happiness in her retirement and freelance work.  
Ginger cat
No more sharing an office with Fudge the cat!
PEN has also moved offices. Our new address is: Parental Engagement Network CIC Ground Floor East Oakland House Talbot Road M16 0PQ

Raising boys’ achievement

PEN has been awarded a grant from the Headley (Sainsbury) Trust to help parents and carers in supporting boys’ learning and development and address the gap in achievement. We will develop a tip sheet for parents, a KS1 project including a workshop for parents and activities to motivate boys and another KS2 detective reading project particularly designed to appeal to boys. We are looking for schools to help us to develop and trial resources. Schools will get free training and resources in return for feedback. For training dates please see here.

Early years and home learning

Damian Hinds, the Education Secretary, raised concerns about children’s language development and the home learning environment and talked about needing to explore how “media and modern technology can help to raise awareness and build parents’ confidence around what they can do to help their child’s early language development.” “It is a persistent scandal that we have children starting school not able to communicate in full sentences, not able to read simple words.” Building on the Sutton Trust /Oxford University research which showed how PEN’s home learning project impacted on the home learning environment, PEN has applied to the Education Endowment Fund to undertake a larger research project in the North West.
“The home learning environment can be, understandably, the last taboo in education policy – but we can’t afford to ignore it when it comes to social mobility.” Damian Hinds – Education Secretary