FI tells Britain’s schools and nurseries: it’s time to ‘dad up’!

26 March 2012

We are calling on schools, nurseries and other family learning settings to sign up for Fathers’ Story Week 2012 and do more to help dads support their children’s education.

Several top children’s authors including Children’s Laureate Julia Donaldson, along with Olympian and father-of-six Chris Boardman and a host of education experts and organisations, have pledged their support for this year’s Fathers’ Story Week, which will take place in the week leading up to Father’s Day (11-17 June).

The Gruffalo author Julia Donaldson said: ‘I’m delighted to support Fathers Story Week, and I hope a record number of dads and schools will get involved this year. In my experience fathers are great storytellers – and great actors. When I do my book shows I often need a little help from the audience, and ask “Who’s got a dad who’s good at telling stories and doing the different voices?” The fathers who are volunteered by their children are always brilliant at transforming themselves into farmers, cattle thieves, dogs, elephants, or whatever else is required.’

Olympic gold medallist and world record holding cyclist Chris Boardman said: ‘Fathers’ Story Week is a wonderful campaign that will help encourage dads to get involved with their children’s schools, nurseries and reading, I am proud to be a supporter. When I was a child my parents read to me regularly and I do the same without fail every night. I want every child to have this experience which is why I am supporting Fathers Story Week.’

Fathers’ Story Week is designed to help participating schools, nurseries and other settings to celebrate fathers and fatherhood, through classroom activities and homework where the children work with their dads or other father-figures; and whole-school events where dads are invited to join the children during the school day. Activities include an Olympic Challenge to find out more about your dad and the Olympics, and try a new sport; paper aeroplane competitions; readathons; and Bring Your Dad To School Day. For more information, visit the FSW website.

Fathers’ Story Week is now in its third year; more than 2,500 schools, nurseries and other settings took part in 2011, reaching an estimated 250,000 families. Organisations including National Children’s Bureau, Action for Prisoners’ Families, the National Day Nurseries Association and the Royal National Institute of Blind People have all endorsed this year’s event, as has Britain’s most famous gay dad, Coronation Street actor Charlie Condou.

Adrienne Burgess, Joint Chief Executive of the Fatherhood Institute, said: ‘We know from the research evidence that when fathers are involved in their children’s learning they have a significant impact on their well-being and learning outcomes. Too often schools and other settings overlook their responsibility to engage with dads as well as mums – especially when the family is separated. Fathers’ Story Week is a great opportunity to start reaching out and getting more dads through the door.’

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