The City of Edinburgh Council produces a monthly newsletter called ELATE - Edinburgh Learns - Aspire, Transform, Engage. We are thrilled to have our Niddrie Mill Primary School project featured in the June 2019 edition with an article written by Cat Maclean, P7 Teacher Niddrie Mill Primary School.

The Recipe to Engaging 'Hard to Reach' Families

Dedicated to raising our children's attainment and closing the gap, we have prioritised developing our parental engagement by leading Family Learning cookery opportunities, in partnership with Edinburgh Community Food.  To establish the best way to raise the profile of family learning at Niddrie Mill, the views of our parent/carers were sought using 'How Good is our Support to Parents and Carers - Locality Self-Evaluation and Improvement Toolkit.'  It was indicated by 88% of our families asked, that they would be interested in attending cookery activated in school with their children. 

The model allows children to spend quality time with their adults in school, learning together about healthy choices, food hygiene, sustainability and how to follow recipes on a budget.  It also creates a casual and open forum between parents/carers, children and staff.  The sessions consist of six families being invited to attend a six week block of cookery classes. 

"I had never tried chickpeas, now I love them."

This project has had a great impact.  Most focus parents felt their relationship[ with their child is now more positive and noticed a positive change in their child's behaviour in school.  Focus parents stated they now feel more able to approach the school for help.  Teachers state their pupils are excited to leaner with their parents and show a higher standard of behaviour and focus when returning to the class,  A primary 1 child stated, 'I have never tried chickpeas - now I love them' and another child from P6 said, 'I don't normally cook at home but now my step-dad trusts me to help.'  Perhaps the biggest impact of these sessions has been the amount of dads and male carers who have engaged with this experience.  Of the 17 parents engaged over the course of this session, 53% have been males.  This is a massive jump compared with the 17% of males recorded as engaging in activities earlier in the session.  

"I don't normally cook at home, now my step-dad trusts me to help."

Next session there are already plans in place for this to reach the wider school community with entire classes engaging in family cooking.  We are continuing to work hard to achieve more successful and meaningful parental engagements across the school.  Overall this work had demonstrated the great importance of strong relationships with parents/carers and the robust impact with  can have on learners gaining positive experiences in school.