‘Dads Count’

Fathers are very important to their child’s health and well-being. This course has been written in response to head teachers identifying a need to engage fathers and carers, which in turn helps their child achieve emotionally, socially and educationally. ‘Dads count’…there’s no doubt about that! Good father & child relationships results in children having better social skills, having higher levels of self-esteem, behaving less aggressively and having better relationships with their family members and their peers as well as increased educational achievements. This course is six weeks of 2 hour sessions covering the following- Instilling confidence and self-esteem in children The importance of play and physical activity Safety in Childhood Routines, boundaries and discipline Choices and consequences Considering feelings Giving praise and encouragement Nurturing and supporting our children The first hour of each week covers the topics above, and the second hour involves the child and dad working in a fun, educational and interactive way reinforcing the skills learned on the above areas.

Step by Step uses a proven pre-course engagement strategy with dads & male carers. This has ensured good attendance onto the course and strengthens ties between school and the community. Many of the projects set up are now being run by the dads themselves.

Case Study

Mark Watson, Head Teacher of Leadgate Junior School recognised one of the key challenges for his school was to strengthen the school/home community bond. One of the areas Mark had as a priority was to work with dads/male carers of the school children in particular. Step by Step has now worked for 1 full day a week for the last term within the community. By being ‘visible’ to parents both at the school and by using her considerable outreach experience in their own homes, Julie has engaged with reluctant service users in a proactive way.This has resulted in a healthy take up onto the ‘Dads Count’ course with more importantly, good retention. Now there is not only a ‘dads group’ up and running but also other projects that enable the parents to truly feel the school is integral to the community.


“Since engaging the services of Step by Step training & Consultancy we have seen a dramatic improvement in parent engagement across the school. Their direct and rapid response to parent needs have removed barriers to learning, greatly supported transition work and allowed parents direct access to the leadership and management team within the school. The difference made has resulted with the engagement of a multitude of services and have supported both home and school in working closer together for the benefit of our pupils.”

Mark Watson

Head Teacher- Leadgate Junior School

“Julie Patterson has a way to interact with families that is not only service user focused but also professional .  Her work that I admire the most is that she undertook with fathers – especially hard to reach fathers or fathers that were going through statutory interventions.  Julie was able to facilitate, manage and support these parents through the groups she ran – enabling parents to share their experiences in a anti oppressive way.  Sometimes parents just need the freedom to speak without prejudice to off load their feelings and thoughts – Julie was able to facilitate this in a safe place with necessary group rules in place”.

Helen WilliamsTeam Manager, Safeguarding Children- Greencroft, Co Durham

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