“(FAST) allows parents to get involved in school in a way they wouldn’t have necessarily done before … It is a recipe for success in enhancing the school community.”– Headteacher.
FAST is a multi-family group approach designed to build protective factors for children to increase their resilience and well-being. Weekly groups held after school are open to all families and participation is strictly voluntary. This community strengthening programme is based on the social ecological theory of child development, family systems theory, family stress theory, attachment theory, social learning theory, and theories of adult education. Groups are led by a trained, multi-agency team of professionals from health, education and social care, with parents from the local school as partners. The team must be culturally representative of the families being served in the groups.
FAST is a parent involvement programme for all children in a grade level at a school. The holistic, multi-systemic, relationship building approach works to prevent bad outcomes for children. A local authority which invests in FAST should have reduced rates of school truancy and school failure, alcohol and drug abuse, youth delinquency and antisocial behaviour, child abuse and neglect, mental health problems, violence and aggression. The focus is on building social capital, social inclusion and promoting the strengths of a school, a local community and all the children and families who live there.