Randomised controlled efficacy trial of Families Connect

This study aims to evaluate Save the Children’s parental engagement programme Families Connect, and consider how it might be delivered at an increased scale across the UK.

Families Connect works with the parents of children aged 4-6 years old, living in disadvantaged areas providing them with the skills and confidence to engage in their children’s learning. The programme uses play as a vehicle for learning and focuses on three key areas: literacy and language development, mathematics and numeracy, and social and emotional skills. At present, the programme is delivered to 182 schools in the UK.

Researchers will build on existing evaluation data by carrying out an efficacy RCT in schools across the UK. A process evaluation involving qualitative interviews with parents, senior school leaders, community practitioners, and programme designers, will explore the key features and conditions required for the programme to be most effective and challenges likely to be involved in scaling the programme up.

Project details


Dr Christine Bradley, Save the Children

Dr Ben Styles, Educational Trials Unit, National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER)

Dr Aideen Gildea, School of Social Sciences, Education & Social Work, Queen University Belfast 

Grant amount and duration


July 2018 - July 2020