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London Borough of Bexley: Using Tiny Happy People to support the home learning environment

Parents are children’s first teachers, but we know that many parents need support in this really important role if their child is to reach their full potential. We are using the BBC’s Tiny Happy People (THP) resources universally across the Local Authority and with partners to share key messages and learning opportunities.

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The Challenge

BBC tiny happy people logo on purple

We needed to engage with a significant number of families on a universal level to provide support and improve the home learning environment. The BBC’s Tiny Happy people (THP) resources were ideal however we needed to find a way to ensure the message was received by as many parents as possible.

The Solution

We receive regular THP updates which we share with our providers, through our Facebook page, our monthly newsletter, and our regular contact with settings. This enables them to share the information with their families. We were invited to attend the LGA /BBC’s THP champion training event. This session further highlighted the potential that the resources could have for the families and children in Bexley. The THP resources are so visual, easy to use and have the potential to make such a difference for children, that to not to utilise it, seemed a waste. We decided to go broader with our promotion to reach a wider audience. We have now built into our wider strategic plan how we will ensure that the resources are shared and promoted to further improve settings partnerships with families and support the home learning environment.  

Emails were sent about what THP is and what the site offers, SEND specific information to our SEND partners – with our Local Offer team, and some voluntary organisations who have since uploaded content onto their website and within their monthly bulletins. Some staff also attended a further LGA/BBC THP event which we also shared information about. 

We made contact with our LA’s comms team who have added the THP link to various pages which are of use to families. We were keen to reach families who don’t always like to engage with services face to face, hence the webpage links. 

We have attended various marketing events held by other teams to share information (Family Togetherness, SEND and Local Offer conference, Children and Family Centres and our colleagues who work in the funding team and share information when discussing funded places). We requested some resources from THP and share these at events - posters, cards and use them alongside funding materials. QR codes/ logos have since been added to funding materials. We have shared physical resources with the playworkers at the children’s centres who can now share with families. 

THP is now an agenda item in meetings and when meeting with different partners THP is discussed in connection with our Born Ready, School Ready, Bexley Ready (BRSRBR) parent resource that is currently being updated to include more THP references. As funding is the LA’s statutory remit, we are including BRSRBR and THP information, adding QR codes to funding materials. 

Different teams within the borough host market events and we invite ourselves along to share funding info and include THP/ BRSRBR information. THP resources are shared during keeping in touch meetings between education and social care partners. Information was also included in the recent Safeguarding partnership comms to all staff in the LA. We are now including THP as a regular feature in our monthly newsletter.

We have encouraged all the early years sector to sign up to the THP programme so they can receive updates and newsletters direct from the BBC.

We are also using the THP logo in our email signatures.

The impact

  • More awareness for those working with families about the range of resources available at no cost
  • The resources are improving home learning experiences - giving families ideas about ways to engage with their child/ren whilst at home and within the community
  • Greater signposting for childcare providers to home learning information to share with their families and further improve partnerships with parents
  • Greater focus on speech, language and communication within the Local Authority and partners
  • Engage with families which may not otherwise engage with support services.

How is the new approach being sustained?

  • The BBC THP team has said they will host championing events for us, so as part of our traded offer, we plan to organise this thereby enabling providers and partners to gain a greater understanding of the available resources and utilise it with the families they work with. 
  • We are also liaising with our comms team as THP have free BBC films, and these may be able to be used across the borough on screens. THP will also be going into the borough’s magazine for residents and the internal magazine for staff. 
  • We are now looking to work with other partners to share the resource including the births team, local libraries and health services. 

Lessons learned

Partners and officers within the LA are busy and may not respond to emails. Sharing the resources face to face with them so they can see the power and quality of the messages really helps to get them onboard to share within their own areas. In order to reach as many families as possible and make a real difference we need everyone on board.


Contact:  Justine George