FUTURE-PROOFING FATHERS WORK

We are delighted to announce the release of a report on fathers work in Oxfordshire by Martin Andrews. This was commissioned by Oxfordshire Parenting Forum and follows the publication of From the Margins to the Mainstream in December 2014 (see below).

 

You can download a copy of the report here

 

Local press coverage

An article about the release of the report appeared in the Oxford Times on 23rd June. You can read it here: 

http://www.oxfordtimes.co.uk/news/14575285.Hard_work_ahead_to_keep_fathers_engaged_at_children__39_s_centres_says_Oxfordshire_Parenting_Forum/

National recognition

The report has already received positive feedback from national fathers' organisations. Jeremy Davies, head of communications at the Fatherhood Institute, commented that the report shows an impressive level of father focus in Oxfordshire, but also highlights how vital it is that services with a genuine 'whole family' focus become the norm. He added: "Father-inclusive practice takes serious, strategic commitment at local authority level, as well as changes in mindset and approach at the grassroots; there is no quick fix. Dads are not a 'special group'; mainstream services should be adapting to meeting dads' as well as mums' needs - even, or perhaps especially, in the context of budget cuts."

Seany O'Kane, CEO of Think Fathers, said:  "From my experience, father-inclusiveness in Oxfordshire is much more advanced than some of the practices I have encountered in other parts of the UK and should actually be used and promoted to highlight best practice nationally." 

 

Professor Tina Miller of Oxford Brookes University said: "The research and activities reported in Martin Andrews' excellent report focusing on Oxfordshire should be used as an example of how to think differently and much more inclusively about fathers when planning services, from local community-based activities to national level policy change."

 

Posted 24th June 2016

Updated 15th July 2016 

 

 

FROM THE MARGINS TO THE MAINSTREAM

In December 2014 the OPF published From the margins to the mainstream, a report by Martin Andrews on current Oxfordshire practice in engaging fathers in parenting education. In the report, Martin reveals good examples of effective father-inclusive practice within the county, but argues that this is piecemeal and uncoordinated. He analyses existing practice and identifies barriers to mainstreaming father-inclusive approaches. The key factors that make father-engagement work are clearly identified in a way that will be very useful for practitioners and managers.

 

The report highlights the lack of a county strategy to involve fathers in parenting programmes. Martin makes recommendations for further development county-wide, and also gives strong messages for training, outreach work and safeguarding.

 

We hope that the report will be read by commissioners and policy-makers as well as by practitioners and their managers. We thoroughly recommend it as a road map to more effective work with fathers county-wide.

 

The 78-page report can be downloaded here

 

DADS OUTDOORS 

Written by Early Years practitioner Rob Beal and published by OPF in 2013, this booklet is all about engaging with fathers and children through outdoor learning. It charts the development of a ground-project in Oxfordshire, focusing on how outdoors learning can be a popular and dynamic way of increasing the involvement of fathers in their children’s lives and also in their local children’s centres.

 

Strong parental involvement enhances children’s early learning and, if sustained, can improve their life chances. For parents, too – and in this case, fathers – outdoor learning has proved to be an informal, practical experience, which is both fun and profound, and helps them to develop self-confidence as prime carers and educators. (In using the term ‘father’, we mean both fathers and male carers, be they step-parents, relations, carers or foster carers, with the responsibility for a child.)

 

Rob Beal’s report is a good read, which is well-researched, informative and inspiring. It is grounded in both theory and practice. As an Early Years professional, he has brought to the project a wealth of knowledge and experience that has raised the quality of the experience for children and fathers alike.

 

A copy of the booklet can be downloaded here

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