“The school staff were a great support. Members of the school governors and head teacher attended the ‘Graduation’ and were impressed by the commitment of our families to the programme” – Headteacher.
The FAST programme requires a lot of commitment and effort from participating schools but without exception every school that has run FAST says it is worth it. Head teachers, school staff, community partners and most importantly parents tell story after story of the success of FAST in their school and community.
Primary FAST can be run with children between the ages of 3 – 8 years old and Secondary FAST is run with 1st year students supported by 4th year students as part of the FAST team.
When does the programme run?
The FAST programme runs after school for 8 weeks. The weekly sessions are 2.5 hours long where a series of structured family activities take place including; communication, listening, turn taking, community building, meal sharing, and relationship building. These are key techniques to help build stronger families.
How does it work?
A fully trained FAST Team coaches and supports parents through each activity. The FAST programme promotes parent empowerment so all communication is directed through the parents. The FAST team uses a technique called table based coaching to pass all instructions for children and other family members through the parent. FAST activities consistently promote the development of relationships; parent to child, parent to parent, parent to school and parent to community.
A complete FAST Team is trained together but then split into ‘Hub Teams’. A hub is a group of 8 to 10 whole families. Each hub team must have:
1 School Partner – paid employee of the school, ideally support staff not teaching staff.
2-3 Parent Partners – parents who have children in the school but not in the class or year for the programme group. These partners are critical to the sustainability of the programme so schools should train as many parents as possible.
1-2 Community Partners; ideally health, social work, mental health, sport and recreation but anyone who lives or works in the community.
How many team members you need depends on how many hubs you intend to run. Our average hub numbers is 2-3 (20-30 families) but our largest number of hubs has been 6 with 59 families graduating.