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Mums learn why families matter at Canary Wharf parenting conference

PUBLISHED: 11:43 19 March 2015 | UPDATED: 11:50 19 March 2015

Pointing the way... at Canary Wharf parenting conference [pictures: Carmen Valino]

Pointing the way... at Canary Wharf parenting conference [pictures: Carmen Valino]

Carmen Valino

Teenage mums and grandparents were among a record number turning up for the annual parents' conference in London's East End.

Check it out... at the parenting conferenceCheck it out... at the parenting conference

Around 160 gathered in a rarefied atmosphere high up in Canary Wharf’s CCT Venues Plus tower, arranged by the Town Hall.

The conferences have been organised by Tower Hamlets Council since 2006 for parents, foster carers and even teenage parents.

Making her point at the parenting conferenceMaking her point at the parenting conference

They aim at paying tribute the role parents and carers play in raising children’s learning and achievement against all the odds, in this deprived inner city borough, encouraging more family involvement to help the next generation get on in life.

Tower Hamlets has one of the country’s highest rates of child poverty—yet one of the fastest-improving school exam grades. The local education authority’s targeted campaign follows past years of struggling with low-performance, with parents now getting more involved in their children’s education.

Family matters discussed at Parenting conferenceFamily matters discussed at Parenting conference

Key speaker Claire Frost, assistant headteacher at Poplar’s Langdon Park Secondary, explained how her school runs sessions to help parents support pupils’ learning at home and to think about options such as university.

The theme of the parenting conference on March 11 was Families Matter—Raising Achievement and Realising Aspirations, with workshops showing how parents can help children improve their education.

Break time... at Canary Wharf parenting conferenceBreak time... at Canary Wharf parenting conference

Practical measures include signing up to courses to keep up with the latest learning techniques and providing space and equipment for revising and working at home.

“Parents and carers have a crucial part to play in children reaching their potential,” Mayor Lutfur Rahman said. “It is great to see so much interest from parents in playing an active part in their children’s learning.”

Joining the debate... at the Parenting conferenceJoining the debate... at the Parenting conference

Speakers also included Gulam Robbani, the council’s cabinet member for education, and Robert McCulloch-Graham, the Town Hall’s Education director on pursuing university or apprenticeships.

Member’s of the Parent Carer Council, which offers courses often oversubscribed, spoke about their experiences and encouraged others to help develop services for East End families.

Conference workshops also gave parents a chance to explore ideas for healthy living and had a video message from TV celebrity chef Jamie Oliver.

The council has cooked up a deal with Jamie for parents to join a course held at his Hoxton HQ to learn healthy cooking at home. The first mums joined earlier this month.

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