Transforming Learning, Leadership for Emotional Health and Parental Partnerships
Family Links is a national training organisation which promotes emotional wellbeing and mental health as well as positive parenting skills. Established as a charity in 1997, with an original aim to reduce and prevent child abuse and neglect, it now delivers training across a variety of settings to enable parents and teachers to become more effective, caring and confident in raising emotionally resilient and socially competent children.
In addition to training thousands of parent practitioners, Family Links also offers a range of Transforming Learning workshops for schools and trainee teachers and a parallel programme for parents, providing a consistent positive approach at home and at school. The Nurturing Programme underpins the Family Links training activities. Developed by American child psychologist Dr Stephen J Bavolek, the programme is built around Four Constructs: self-awareness and self-esteem; appropriate expectations; positive discipline; and empathy.
The School of Teacher Education has been collaborating with Family Links on a number of initiatives on initial teacher training pathways including Teach First, since 2009. Family Links currently provides training for all national Primary Teach First participants. Evaluation from follow up workshops has found that 98 per cent of participants who attended follow-on workshops agreed that the programme helped them support the emotional needs of pupils and effectively manage challenging behaviour.
A Family Links/CCCU partnership project group was established in July 2013 to develop further opportunities for long term collaboration with on-going outcomes linked to research and knowledge transfer and staff/student exchange through internal and external dissemination opportunities. Project members include lecturers, students, family practitioners, teachers, researchers and Family Links leadership.
Since establishing the project group partnership outcomes have included:
- Training for trainee teachers and newly qualified teachers;
- Partnership workshops for students, teachers and tutors;
- Parent Group Leader Training for schools and CCCU staff;
- Whole school Transforming Learning INSET;
- Conference presentations;
- Partnership action research workshops and follow up case studies;
- Staff self-study research and linked programme development;
- The development of Masters Modules to run alongside Family Links training opportunities including Leadership for Emotional Health.
The existing collaboration aims to build on and further develop expertise across the university and wider partnership, including the dynamic work of the Research Centre for Children, Families and Communities to build a beacon area of excellence in the fields of social and emotional health and family partnerships. The work of the Family Links project crosses several Research Theme groups including: Children, Families and Communities; Professional, Organisational and Leadership Development; and Curriculum: Creativity and Innovation. It also aims to integrate teaching excellence with conducting research and knowledge exchange including building on existing and proposed Family Links longitudinal research partnerships aimed at improving systems and services for children and families.
The Family Links/CCCU project team welcomes new members. For further information about the project and linked action research opportunities contact Wendy Cobb.
Further information about Family Links current initiatives, including its Islamic Values and Welcome to the World Programmes is available through the charity’s website.