Helping Children Achieve

An evaluation of a parenting intervention in two local authorities

(DfE, IoP 2008-2011)

Helping Children Achieve is a randomised controlled trial testing the effects of parenting interventions designed to improve children’s conduct and literacy. The research evaluates the effectiveness of these interventions in a disadvantaged, multi-ethnic inner city population. It focuses on what works, for whom and why. The sites participating in the study cover inner-city, multi-ethnic communities living in some of the most disadvantaged conditions (Hackney) and typical conditions characteristic of 90% of families in England (Plymouth).

Families with children in year 1 or 2 are being recruited from schools in Hackney and Plymouth. Participating families are randomly assigned to one of four intervention programmes:

  • a behavioural programme only, or
  • a reading programme only, or
  • a behaviour and reading programme together, or
  • no intervention

Parents and children undergo semi-structured interviews, answer questionnaires and are directly observed in structured and unstructured settings using DVD recordings, to assess family history, parenting approaches, parent and child psychopathology, behaviour problems, parent-child interaction, family discord, verbal and nonverbal IQ, reading skills and stressful life events. DVD recording is essential for coding verbal and non-verbal indicators of the relevant domains from the in-depth interviews. Families are assessed at three time points, pre-intervention, eight months later and a final post-assessment one year later. Over 200 families have been recruited and assessed across the two sites. Results of the trial will be available in 2011.

Staff: Professor Kathy Sylva and Fiona Roberts, in collaboration with King’s College London.

Page last modified: April 27, 2016