Parent Support Advisers – appraised by DCSF

September 21, 2009 at 11:48 am 1 comment

by Alec Patton

From 2006-2008, DCSF invested £40 million in order to train and employ “Parent Support Advisers” (PSAs) in 20 local authorities, with the Training and Development Agency for schools (TDA), which allocated funding, developed training tools, and was in charge of dissemination. The PSA project recruited 717 PSAs, who worked with parents at a total of 1167 schools. As far as I can tell from the report, training lasted a grand total of six days. As the DCSF’s report on the project reports rather drily, since professional training usually lasts 1-2 years, “The PSA initial training therefore could only be a beginning and PSAs’ development relied both on their prior experience and subsequent support.”

The headline results look very positive – most striking is the stat that at schools with a PSA, “the proportion of persistant absentees decreased by almost a quarter.” What’s most striking about the project is that only a minority of PSAs reported working with a child – they genuinely were focused on the PARENT (usually the mother) rather than the kid – and they tended to meet in one-on-one sessions. It’ll be interesting to see where this pilot goes now – it seems pretty cheap (six days of training plus support from a line manager) yet personalised (working one-on-one with parents). You can read the full DCSF report here.


Entry filed under: Education & Children's Services, Government Departments, Innovation Policy, Schools & Multi-School Trusts.

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Claire McEneaney  |  September 21, 2009 at 2:11 pm

    Hi Alec – this is interesting as thereis a whole body (National Academy of Parenting Practitioners who deal with exactly this kind of thing.

    But I think their training is much more long term. There is some interesting research on their website if you are interested.

    I’m not suprise that the results look positive – Charles Desforges did some research which shows that parental engagement is one of the largest influencing factors on their childs achievement and engagement with the education system.


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