Supporting Parents on Kids Education in Schools (SPOKES)

SPOKES is postponed until further notice.

Update: Plymouth Information, Advice and Support (for SEND) have resumed delivering our Parenting Programme courses face-to-face. We are accepting applications for future Incredible Years courses but currently unable to take any new requests for Strengthening Families 10-14 UK until further notice.

For courses delivered by other organisations, please see External Parenting Courses.

See the latest information about coronavirus (COVID-19).

Supporting Parents on Kids Education in Schools (SPOKES) is a free Ready for School programme for children in Key Stage 1. It is a 9 week course where parents can learn skills to support their children and help them become more confident with their listening, talking, reading and writing.

Background Information

The SPOKES research trial ran from January 2013 to December 2014 and involved 808 parents of year 1 children from 68 primary schools across Plymouth, Saltash and Torbay. Results from the randomised controlled trial run by the University of Oxford showed that the programme significantly:

(i) Improved Key Stage 1 literacy scores:

  • 5 months for boys
  • 3-4 months for ALL children

(ii) Improved Single Word Reading for boys only:

  • 3 months at medium term follow up

(iii) Improved Word Attack for boys only:

  • 3 months at medium term follow up
  • 7 months at long term

(iv) Changes the parents’ support for literacy at home:

  • Significant improvements in parent support while reading with child
  • Total number of strategies relating to ‘talking around the book’
  • Number of ‘pauses’ to allow child time to problem-solve
  • Number of meaning prompts, e.g. ‘try looking at the picture’
  • Total of labelled praise, ‘great, you sounded that word out, didn’t you?’

Due to the success of the programme, since September 2017 PIAS (Plymouth Information, Advice and Support) parenting team have offered SPOKES to primary schools in Plymouth.

Key Features

The overall aim of the SPOKES Ready for School Programme is to give the parent the skills to make their child ready for school.

Supporting Parents on Kids Education in Schools (SPOKES) Leaflet

By the end of the course, parents will be able to support their child to:

  • Communicate effectively
  • Be able to listen attentively and use language constructively
  • Make reading and writing fun
  • Support a positive environment for school readiness at home
  • Support their child’s reading through the use of ‘Pause, Prompt and Praise’
  • Regulate their emotions and behaviours effectively

Groups of Key Stage 1 parents meet once a week at school over 9 weeks for two and a half hours. Free books and other items, such as magnetic letters and puppet packs are given to parents to use with their children.

In addition to being fun, the SPOKES programme has been shown to help children make above expected progress including Key Stage 1 literacy scores for all children.

If you are a parent or a school and would like to find out more, please contact Jo Best, SPOKES Coordinator for further details on 01752 258933 (Option 2) or email:

SPOKES Leaflet