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FI Focus: An update on our projects and campaigns

Building the evidence base on fathers and children’s learning

Research shows that early parental involvement is critical for child development. But most of this evidence is based on studies conducted with mothers, or that involves ‘parents’ but doesn’t consider their gender: an important gap we’re trying to fill (read more in our June 2021 blog).

We know that during the Covid-19 pandemic, dads have been doing a lot to support their children’s learning at home. Now we want to find out more about dads’ involvement; what support they receive from schools and other education providers; and whether they would like additional help.

That’s why this week, as part of PIECE (Paternal Involvement and its Effects on Children’s Education), a study with Leeds and Manchester Universities, we’re launching a survey to help build our understanding of fathers’ provision of educational support.

Please help us improve the evidence base about fathers and children’s learning, by distributing the survey to as many dads as possible (and, if you’re a dad of under-12s, by completing it yourself!).

About our new survey

The Fathers and Children’s Learning survey is aimed at dads with children aged under 12, and asks them about:
  • What they do to support their children’s education
  • How confident they feel doing this
  • How their children’s schools and nurseries support them
  • Whether there are particular areas they’d like more help with, and
  • What types of support they find most useful.

If you’re a dad, please take the survey and share it with friends, family and colleagues.

If you’re a mum, please pass it on to your child’s father and/or other dads you know.

Here’s the link to share: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/WZKBVDZ.

If you work with fathers or represent a school, nursery or other organisation, please support our study by promoting the survey as widely as possible. You’ll find resources to help you do this on the PIECE website.

We’ll also be holding some online discussions with dads, mums and professionals in spring/summer 2022. If you’d like to take part, please email our head of communications Jeremy Davies.

Dad? Take the survey

Work with families? Download resources

More about the PIECE study

PIECE (Paternal Involvement and its Effects on Children’s Education) is an ESRC-funded study that will test whether paternal involvement increases children’s primary school attainment; whether it has a particular for boys or girls; whether it can moderate the known (negative) effects of poverty; and what kinds of paternal input have the most impact.

The study will conduct the first longitudinal analysis in England that explores the relationship between fathers’ childcare involvement and their children’s attainment at primary school. Using household data from the Millennium Cohort Survey (MCS) linked with official educational records of children from the National Pupil Database in England, we will explore whether, how and at what stage fathers’ childcare involvement affects children’s attainment.

The study is led by Dr Helen Norman, senior research fellow at Leeds University Business School. The FI are Co-Investigators on the project; our role is to consult with parents and professionals, produce resources to help services maximise fathers’ positive involvement, and build impact on education policy.

Find out more on the dedicated study website.