Innovation Exchange

Families First


Key activities

Benefits and impacts


Further Information

‘Giving our Children the Best Start in Life: Renfrewshire’s Strategy for the Early Years’ was approved in March 2013 and consists of 3 approaches:


  1. A family-centred approach within the locality;
  2. A family-centred outreach approach;
  3. Support for families with older children.


The strategy is known and branded as ‘Families First’. An Early Years Steering Board provides the governance arrangements for the implementation of the Families First strategy and includes representation from agencies across the Community Planning Partnership.


Theme: Children and Education

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1. A family-centred approach within the locality – Families First core team model


The Families First core team model was established after a period of consultation with families in the Linwood and Ferguslie localities and professionals across Renfrewshire.  The core team model supports families in the local community to give their children the best start in life through the provision of a local, family-centred service. Teams were established in Linwood and Ferguslie in November 2013 and in 3 further localities (Foxbar, Gallowhill and Johnstone) in March 2016 after further funding was made available through the Renfrewshire Tackling Poverty programme.


Since November 2013 we have supported over 500 families. The nature of the support offered to families is shaped by their needs and priorities.


Families are also supported both through drop-in and group sessions.


2. A family-centred outreach approach


A number of Families First activities are offered across Renfrewshire including:


  • Provision of daily ‘Families First Clubs’ during school holidays for P1-P3 children who are in receipt of school clothing grant. This consists of a programme of activities and a hot meal each day.
  • Implementation of a Nurture Strategy with identified ‘Nurture Champions’ in each pre-5 centre supported by 2 Barnardo’s ‘Nurture Facilitators’. The nurture approach has now been extended to Primary and Secondary Schools.
  • Family ‘Pizza Reading Groups’ to support and encourage family learning.
  • Training and support for pre-5 staff in early identification of speech and language.
  • Mobile children’s service known as the Skoobmobile.


3. Support for families with older children

Additional support for looked after children (LAC) including both younger children and older children with a focus on reducing exclusions and raising attainment through a team consisting of a LAC teacher and mentors.

  • The most recent Early Years Strategy Impact Evaluation report noted positive impact in the following key areas:
  • parental and child wellbeing
  • attachment relationships
  • parenting skills and knowledge
  • professional skills and knowledge
  • home environments
  • employability skills.
  • The external evaluation by Glasgow University (The Robert Owen Centre for Educational Change) found that the Linwood and Ferguslie core teams had made a “profound impact” on the lives of local families.
  • A robust evaluation programme is in place to evaluate the outcomes of all actions within the Families First strategy. This includes an external evaluation of the Families First core teams and a self-evaluation programme using a number of different evaluation approaches including the EYC / RAFA Improvement Model .
  • Lead officers for each action are supported in identifying appropriate outcome measures and are interviewed to collate details for Annual Impact Report.
  • Training in the PDSA evaluation approach is offered to lead officers and is supported by the EYC / RAFA Improvement Advisors.

Contact details:

To find out more about this case study, please contact:


Janyce Graham

Project Manager (Early Years Strategy)

Renfrewshire Council

0141 618 7567

Case study added to site: June 2016

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