Pippa Lord, Ben Styles, Jo Morrison, Richard White, Joana Andrade, Susie Bamford, Clare Lushey, Megan Lucas, Robert Smith
02 November 2018
Families and Schools Together (FAST) is a parental engagement programme which aims to support parenting, enhance links between families, school and the community, and make a difference to children’s behaviour and learning. Save the Children UK (SCUK) delivers FAST in UK primary schools, through a license with Middlesex University. This school-level randomised controlled trial focused on pupils in Year 1 and measured the impact of FAST for the whole year group in terms of attainment and behavioural outcomes. A total of 158 schools took part in the trial, with 7,207 pupils across the Year 1 cohort in these schools, and involving 632 pupils taking part in the eight-week programme. A process evaluation explored participants’ views and experiences.
- The FAST programme did not appear to make a difference to children’s attainment: there was no evidence that FAST had an effect on Key Stage 1 outcomes for the whole year group, or for the ‘target’ group of children who took part in the 8-week programme.
- FAST made a difference to Year 1 pupils’ behavioural and prosocial outcomes immediately after the programme: Year 1 pupils in the intervention schools had a higher average prosocial score and a lower average total difficulties score than pupils in comparison schools. However, these impacts waned by the end of Year 2.
- Parent-teacher engagement was felt to have been enhanced. However, maintaining the parent group after the 8-week programme, through FASTworks, or benefiting parents and children in the wider year group appeared more limited.