Norfolk Community Learning Services (NCLS) is running free family learning courses to give parents the tools to support their children with learning while improving their own English and maths skills at the same time.

All parents would like their children to succeed in school but many are not sure how to support them and lack the basic skills to do so. The way English and maths is taught in schools also changes regularly so there is a risk that parents could confuse their children by using the methods they were taught rather than the ones used in schools currently.

As well as helping to improve their English and maths skills, the family learning courses allow parents to find out how the subjects are taught in school and give them an opportunity to meet teachers in an informal way. The courses are classroom based and taught in two-hour sessions over a five-week period.

Cllr Margaret Dewsbury, Chair of Norfolk County Council’s Communities Committee, said: “Family learning courses are a way of raising the achievements of the whole family by providing learning opportunities for mums, dads, extended family members, carers and guardians.

“Alongside key partners such as Children’s Services and Jobcentre Plus, NCLS is working with schools across the county to identify children and families at risk of poor attainment and put programmes like this in place to help address achievement gaps.”

Recent taster sessions for family learning courses, held in Great Yarmouth at St Nicholas Priory and Great Yarmouth Primary Academy, attracted 127 families with almost half of the parents wanting to progress onto further courses with NCLS.

Stephen Astley, Executive Principal at Great Yarmouth Primary Academy, said: “I’d like to thank the team at Norfolk Community Learning Services for the wonderful work they continue to do with our families.

“Great Yarmouth Primary Academy is in one of the bottom 2% of neighbourhoods for deprivation nationally, which can have a huge effect on the children we serve. More parents coming into school has been an incredibly positive experience and it makes such a difference by helping them work with us to support their children’s learning.

“Some parents don’t have the best memories of school themselves so to see them enjoying participating and learning is a real joy for us all. Besides the immediate benefits of developing home school links we are also delighted to see parents take up further courses that can really help improve family life.”

Find out more about family learning courses with Norfolk Community Learning Services at