Department of Education

Encouraging fathers’ paternal engagement in children’s education

82% of full time working fathers say employment responsibilities limits time with children

Children in playgroundCorrelation studies demonstrate a positive relationship between Father involvement from the early years and children’s later development, but by the time British children are 16 around half no longer live with their dad (2.9 million children), while educational settings tend to see child care as the mothers domain, leaving fathers feeling invisible.

In a film and research report for Bath and North East Somerset Council Dr Rita Chawla-Duggan and Dr Susan Milner set out a number of potential impacts arising from giving children and their fathers time together in educational and early years’ settings as part of the initiative ‘Fathers Friday’.

The film and the report illustrates how the initiative sought to increase awareness of the importance of fathers’ role; forge closer relationships between fathers and educational practitioners and initiate support networks between fathers.

The UK leading children’s charity ‘The Daycare Trust’ which was commissioned to report to government on parental participation in the early years, highlighted the film and the report as a case study. The ‘Fatherhood institute’ featured the film on their website and in training activities; it was also featured in the ‘Teaching Times’ and is being used by schools and early years’ settings to inform their own parental partnership strategies.

Fathers Friday is a day when fathers and male role models can come to school to find out more about their children's education.