Positive Results for Pathway

By Reporter, The HighLand Times, Wednesday July 18 2018

Pictured: (L to R) Mairanne Nairn (family support project co-ordinator, CALA), Conor Bennet (Parent), Stephen Coyle (Prison Governor), Scott Grant (Parent) and Gillian Forbes (Peep co-ordinator for Highland Council).

New learning and bonding opportunities have become available for families who have a parent in Inverness Prison.

Highland Council has invested in a programme called ‘Peep Learning Together Programme’ which incorporates an element of the Peep progression pathway. 

The programme is developed by ‘Peeple’, which is a charity that works across all of the UK to support parents/carers to learn together with their young children aged 0-5 years.

As part of the Councils ‘Supporting Parents Improvement group’ recommendations, the Peep programme has reached over 400 families within the last year across the Highlands, helping parents gain confidence in their own abilities and to be the best parents they can.

This is achieved through a series of facilitated groups.

Each group session starts with a welcome song and then ‘talk-time’ which focuses on one of the 74 topics that are covered in the Peep programme.

At the end, parents have the option to complete a keepsake about their child’s learning and development and what they have observed during the session.

Through this, parents/carers have the chance to gain an SCQF qualification at level 3, 4 or 5 in a variety of topics relating to Early Child Development as well as being able to learn about the importance of positive play and the impact this has on their child’s education and growth.

Peep has been running for a number of years, with 62 practitioners trained in the Highlands so far.

However, the programme is taking a new step forward and has successfully been introduced into Inverness prison through a partnership with The Highland Council, Care and Learning Alliance and Scottish Prison Service.

Two fathers have graduated with nationally recognised SCQF level 4 qualifications through the programme.

This is the first pathway group to be delivered within a Prison in the whole of the UK and the first Pathway for the Highlands.

Peep is excellent for anyone who has barriers surrounding formal or traditional education as the sessions are enjoyable and informal so that learning is a great experience for the parent/carer and their child.

Conor Bennett, who is one of the dads who has completed the programme, said:

“I gained useful skills through the programme that will help me day-to-day when I’ve been released from prison.

“It gave me a better understanding of parenting and what can help my child.”

Scott Grant, who also completed the course, had positive things to say about the Peep Programme as well:

“I have really enjoyed the course because it has made me feel more confident in being a first-time dad and I have discovered lots of activities me and my son can do together.”

The dads now plan to continue their qualifications at SCQF level 5 in Early Child Development.

Gillian Forbes, the Council’s Peep co-ordinator trainer said:

“It’s been lovely to watch Scott and Conor grow in confidence over the last 12 weeks and a real privilege to support them in achieving their recent qualifications.”

Inverness prison governor, Stephen Coyle was also very pleased with the results of the programme and said:

“It has given the fathers in our care the skills and confidence to shape play in a way which is fun yet maximises the benefits to their children, whilst strengthening the bonds in the wider family group.

“We are delighted this work will be ongoing with a new course starting in September.”

The peep programmes give the option of group learning, family work or even on a one-to-one, individual basis.

Parents/carers are also able to go to the sessions without completing a qualification if they would prefer.

If you or someone you know would be interested in attending Peep classes or completing the Peep Progression Pathway then please contact Gillian Forbes (Peep Co-ordinator) on 01463 229523 or by emailing gillian.forbes@highland.gov.uk.



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