Family Learning activities can be run by just about anywhere - from cafes to galleries to schools. When deciding on your family learning offer here are 10 key steps to take:

1. Decide on your goals - what your organisation would like to achieve

For example, these could be a mix of :

  • Reaching and engaging different groups of people – e.g. dads
  • Promoting specific types of learning such as digital skills or healthy eating
  • Increasing the number of people visiting your venue
  • Raising the profile of your organisation
  • Opportunities to work with new partners

Next, think about your target audience. For example, you may decide to target:

  • dads and lads
  • families from a particular ethnic background
  • families who live in a particular area
  • parents who don’t usually engage in school activities

2. Think about what your Family Learning offering will be?

Before choosing your family learning offer you may wish to think about:

  • Activities that family members can do together. Family Learning is all about integenerational learning.
  • The types of activities your target families are interested in. If possible ask them beforehand.
  • What people will learn from the activity. Ideally, you should have learning outcomes for both children and adults. If you run a face painting session you could look at make up through the ages or talk about the science of the skin.
  • Taking your event to your audience. This could include shopping centres, sports halls
    or the high street. People prefer to take part in events where they feel comfortable and which are ‘everyday’ venues. Outreach programmes are a good way to start a relationship that could have them step through the doors of your venue at a later point. They can also provide a great opportunity for your organisation to form new partnerships.
  • How you can inspire further learning. If you run an arts and crafts course signpost people to groups they can join after the course ends or highlight books or online resources they could use.

3. Consider how you will promote your offering

Promotion can be carried out in a variety of ways with something for everyone’s budget. Ensure that your materials are easy to read as families will have different literacy levels.

Personal invitation: A personal invitation from a child to a member of their family can be a powerful way to encourage people to attend an event. We have lots of templates that you can use for your events in the resources section.

Word of mouth - this is the cheapest and most effective way of promoting your offer. Ask families that have been involved with family learning in the past to talk about what you offer to other parents or you could record them and post a video on social media. 

Partnerships - if you are working with a partner use them to their full potential. Use their newsletter, website, social media or meetings. If you are working with a school ask them to send out letters/flyers through satchel post (this is an effective way of reaching parents).

Use the media - you can either create your own social media channels or find out what your target audience use and ask them to post details about your family learning offering. Write your own press release and send it to your local newspaper, radio and TV stations as well as ‘What’s On’ websites. It is also helpful to have a case study of a family who enjoyed your event highlighting any further learning they took part in afterwards.

Posters and flyers - There are plenty of websites that will help you create simple eye catching posters. One that we like at the Campaign for Learning is www.canva.com 

If you produce leaflets think about where you will distribute them. Once again take into consideration who your target audience is. Where do they go? Try places like fish and chip shops and local grocery stores.

4. Ensure your family learning is safe for all

Health & Safety Policy: The law requires organisations to take reasonable steps to evaluate risks and take the necessary steps so they can be avoided. It is always a good idea when embarking on any new activities to refer to your existing health and safety policy to see if it needs adapting and revising accordingly.

Risk Assessment: Creating a risk assessment will identify hazards and minimise risks associated with particular events. The Health and Safety Executive website has useful advice, sample Health and Safety policies, and straightforward guides such as their Five Steps to Risk Assessment.

Code of conduct: It’s a good idea to share a Code of Conduct with your visitors, explaining what will happen when, what to bring, what to wear, which areas they will have access to, where they can get changed, and where they can store bags and coats, for example.

Accessibility: Provide clear information about the facilities that you provide. Consider access requirements for wheelchair users and buggies. Ensure you have appropriate seating for children and those with limited mobility. For more information on making your venue accessible for disabled visitors visit www.disabledaccessday.com

Child Protection: At a family learning event, adults should supervise their children and comply with your organisation’s safeguarding policy. Staff and or volunteers working with children/ vulnerable adults without guardian supervision will need to be checked by the Criminal Records Bureau. For more information visit
www.gov.uk/government/publications/safeguardingchildren-and-young-people/safeguarding-children-andyoung-people

Data Protection: Under the Data Protection Act of 1998, all public and private organisations who collect personal information about individuals, e.g. for research or marketing purposes, are legally obliged to protect any personal information they hold and may be required to notify the Information Commissioners Office. For more information on collecting data visit www.gov.uk/data-protection

5. Reflect on the triangle of success

The practical organisation of the course: free crèche for younger children, diversity of topics studied, the flexibility of what to study, small numbers, correct level, friendly and informal atmosphere
The other people attending the course: friendly, non-judgemental, keen to learn
The teacher: supportive, encouraging, non-intimidating, respectful.

6. Evaluate your family learning

You should also evaluate and review your family learning offer as it will help you to improve what you do. When you are evaluating you will need to consider how well you met your original objectives. Choose a non-threatening, fun way of getting feedback. Try not to use a form with lots of questions as this can put people off completing the survey. Consider:

  • What do you need to measure and why?
  • How can you collect the data you need?
  • What is the impact of your provision?


Be creative! Here are a couple of ideas (taken from organisations who have been involved with the Family Learning Festival in previous years):

  • Turn children into journalists. Make the evaluation process an integral part of the event. Use mobiles or dictaphones and ask children to go around the adults to ask questions about the event. Ask the adults to change places so that you capture the children’s views as well.
  • Family feedback tree. Make a tree out of corrugated paper and put it on the wall, close to the exit. Supply post-it notes and ask everyone to make a comment, or face on it and stick it on the tree when they leave.
  • Smiley faces. Prepare a batch of round faces with different expressions that families can leave at every session they attend.

For more creative ideas on evaluating visit the evaluator's cookbook.

7. Celebrate the learning

Consider how do you will celebrate your family learning achievements.