Update from the ESOL Stepping Stones project

The ESOL Stepping Stones course (an ESOL course for non-English speaking mothers and their babies) was designed and developed in Autumn 2017 before being successfully delivered in nine pilot settings across Greater Manchester, including five Children’s Centres, 3 Primary Schools and a Community Centre.

The course comprised twelve 45 minute sessions covering different aspects of family daily life, such as health, baby milestones, food, visiting the doctor and also the signposting of next steps for the mums. Each session encouraged interaction between mum and baby including songs and book reading. All necessary course materials were provided and a training session was held for existing staff in the settings to enable them to deliver the course themselves.

74 mums plus babies enrolled across the 9 settings from 27 different home countries, with 20 first languages and mums resident in the UK between 3 weeks and 14 years. All the feedback so far has been very positive and we are holding another Stakeholder event for facilitators in July to allow effective knowledge exchange and gather further feedback and insight to inform future development. We will then produce Case Studies to exemplify how the course could work in other settings to share on LuCiD’s website.

After the success of the pilot we are now embarking on a UK roll out and we have decided to target all areas where there is likely to be a high need. We will continue to use Twitter to promote the course, its aims and how to access the materials, and will also email Children’s Centres, schools and other possible settings directly. We are attending the NATECLA National Conference in July (National Association for Teaching English and other Community Language to Adults) after a very positive response at the North West Conference. We have also held very successful meetings with Children’s Centres and schools in Newham and Bradford to promote the course. There are currently 43 settings or areas on the waiting list awaiting the official launch of the UK roll out. We have had interest from all over the country and are talking to the NW ESOL Mapping Project Co-ordinator to see if we can use the national network to promote the course and are liaising with the WEA about possible links. We have also been contacted by the ESOL Coordinator for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Scotland and Trinity College, Dublin.

Our vibrant course materials will shortly be available in two formats:

Feedback from settings is that the hard copies allow for a more ‘informal’ delivery which is less intimidating, without the need for technology, often in more family friendly rooms, such as a crèche room or similar.

Both of these order channels will be monitored and support offered to new settings by the Research Assistant. A short eLearning Pod will also soon be available for staff in settings to familiarise themselves with the course and to train as facilitators to deliver it.

We wish to create a sustainable model for UK-wide dissemination of the course long-term and are investigating avenues for transforming the programme into a social enterprise project, or similar, with the help of the University’s Intellectual Property ‘Innovation Optimiser Roadmap’ programme.

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