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New £1 million Fund to test how parental engagement can help achieve more

23 October 2014

When starting school, children from the poorest backgrounds are 19 months behind their most affluent peers of the same age in development of vocabulary. Studies have shown this attainment gap between pupils eligible for free school meals and all other pupils persists through school. At age eleven the gap between Free School Meals pupils and their peers stood at 19% in reading, writing and mathematics in 2013.

Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and the Sutton Trust have launched a £1 million Parental Engagement Fund to support organisations to develop methods of working with parents to bridge this attainment gap in the early and primary school years.

The Parental Engagement Fund will complement the work of the Education Endowment Foundation and aims to develop evidence on approaches that work, may be scaled and contribute to best practice guidance for the sector as a whole. It will support the growth, increased effectiveness and measurement of impact of projects, led by not- for- profit organisations, aimed at improving children’s cognitive development through parental engagement, for up to three years.

Applications are open until Friday 5th December via the Sutton Trust website

Caroline Mason, Chief Executive of Esmée Fairbairn Foundation said;

“To have the greatest impact, our funding should be the catalyst for further support, and through this partnership with the Sutton Trust we hope to help charities with great ideas to grow and prove their models for parental engagement, enabling them to get the evidence, recognition and funding they need, and parents and children the future they deserve.”

James Turner, Director of Programmes at the Sutton Trust, said;

“We know from our research that by the time children start school there’s already a 19 month gap between the most and least advantaged pupils. Tackling this disparity early on is critical to breaking the cycle of disadvantage and improving social mobility.

The Parental Engagement Fund commits significant resources to finding the best ways to enable parents to help their children achieve more. We are delighted to be working with the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation on a project that can give more children access to the significant benefits of parental involvement in their education.”