Mothers’ Union ‘Just for Men’ Parenting Programme Training Course

21 June 2005

Why a course for men only?

In order to develop the support the Mothers’ Union can offer to fathers, we would like to encourage more men to access the MU Parenting Programme training course for parenting group facilitators. Those men who have attended the course have been very enthusiastic about their experience, but so far, participants have been mostly women. Informal research suggests that some men prefer to participate in all male parenting groups, so reflecting that trend, we wondered if men would prefer to train to be parenting group facilitators within a group of other men!

Because this is the first time we have run a course for men only, we will be treating it as a pilot, and asking those who attend to provide us with feedback on the course structure and content, sharing with us any changes it would be helpful to make. Representatives from the MU central staff team will be present throughout the course, as observers.

Although we are making a few changes as we prepare for this course, (for example, we’ll be involving a male Trainer for the first time), primarily, we are running it in a similar way to previous ones. Once participants have experienced the course, we will then consider the changes that it would be helpful to make, based on the feedback we receive.

Course content, dates and venue

The training course provides participants with an opportunity to identify, explore and practice the key skills required to facilitate parenting groups. The course covers subjects such as understanding parents, the family life cycle, parenting group dynamics, group facilitation styles and skills, resources available for use within groups and guidelines for choosing and adapting them for specific groups.

The learning style is participatory: there will be discussion, dialogue, individual and group exercises, observation, opportunities to practise skills, ask questions and reflect. The training course is externally accredited through the London Open College Network.

Full details of the course content are included in the document The MU Parenting Programme: Begin Here. Selection criteria have also been drawn up, to help you consider whether this course is right for you. Both of these documents are available from the Mothers’ Union central office (details overleaf).

The course will take place between 14 – 16 October 2005, and will be held at High Leigh Conference Centre, Lord Street, Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire EN11 8SG.

Two trainers will be present at this course. Joan King, who designed the course content and continues to act as Tutor/Trainer to the overall programme will be there, co-training with a male Trainer who we are in the process of selecting.

Who can apply to attend this course?

The course is open to male members of the Mothers’ Union, and other men who either work in partnership with or are supportive of the Mothers’ Union’s aim and objectives.

Diocesan consent: Anyone who applies to come on the course is asked to do so with the knowledge of the Mothers’ Union Diocesan President (or other diocesan trustee) responsible for the area or diocese in which you live. If you do not already know a diocesan trustee, do contact us, and we will put you in touch with each other. This is so that, longer term, the MU in your area can keep in touch with you and offer you any appropriate encouragement. Diocesan Presidents or other trustees are asked to complete a section on the application form to confirm their involvement in your application.

Nomination and ongoing support: We also ask that someone who knows you over a long period of time indicate their support for your application to participate in this training course, confirming that they feel that you fulfil the selection criteria. We ask that spouses, partners, parents and children of applicants do not undertake this nominating role. Your parish priest or minister would be ideal, if they know you well. There is a section on the application form that they are asked to complete.

Either they, or someone they nominate, are also asked to provide you with longer-term support and encouragement as you set up parenting groups. From previous courses, we have found this personal, longer term support is a crucial.
Everyone who applies to participate in this training programme is asked to confirm on the application form that they are committed to:

• Establishing parenting groups.
• Completing the necessary written work after the course has taken place, in order to gain the external accreditation offered through the London Open College Network.
• Complying with their diocesan/organisation’s child protection policy.
• Confirming that they have not committed any crimes against children.

Next steps – how to apply

If you feel that this is a course you would like to attend, please request a copy of the Booking Pack (contact details overleaf) and complete the enclosed application form that you will find included in the Pack. This needs to be returned to the central Mothers’ Union by 31 July 2005. We will then get in touch with you to confirm that a place has been reserved for you, and in August, send you details of the small amount of pre-course work you are asked to do before attending.

At this stage, it is hard for us to judge how much interest there will be in this course, so applications will be considered and places allocated on a first come – first served basis! There will be sixteen places available on this course.

Course costs

Course fee: £350 per person. This includes residential accommodation and all handouts. Limited funding is available to assist with course fees if your organisation is unable to cover the full cost – please contact Jane Groves for further information:  

Jane Groves
UK and Ireland Projects Officer
The Mothers’ Union
24 Tufton Street

Tel 020 7222 5533

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