Celebrating Fatherhood

Fathers’ Friday was part of the Celebrating Fatherhood campaign, which recognises the importance of fathers in children’s lives, and is being run by Bath & North East Somerset Council and other organisations on behalf of the Local Safeguarding Children Board.


On June 15th & 22nd 2012, 13 schools and 11 Children’s Centres and early years settings held events for Fathers’ Friday, an initiative aimed at strengthening fathers’ participation in children’s education and development. Over 1200 Fathers, or other significant male role models in the child’s life such as uncles, grandfathers, and brothers, attended to visit for all or part of the day, to see their children learning and at play.


Research conducted by Bath University tells us the days were successful with the number of fathers involved – which exceeded expectations everywhere – and the response from fathers, children and mothers. Teachers in all schools could also give examples of grandfathers, uncles, brothers and family friends who had attended and had been fully involved in children’s lives for a day.


Schools and settings involved say they have seen a real improvement in relationships with parents, deepening existing contacts and meeting fathers they had never seen before. It’s clear that there is real value in Fathers’ Fridays and they’re something we’d love to see develop in future.


Key findings of the research

  • There is a significant demand for initiatives which promote fathers’ involvement in children’s education and development. Such involvement is associated with improved social, emotional and educational outcomes for children.

  • Staff understood the importance of fathers (and father-figures) in children’s education and development. They used Fathers’ Fridays to reflect on and discuss with parents how fathers could best be engaged, as well as experimenting with a range of activities.

  • Children themselves are often the most important bridge between fathers and school. On Fathers’ Friday most settings organised their recruitment and activities to be led by the children. This kind of communication helped fathers to become familiar with what schools and settings expected from their children.

  • The initiative strengthened pre-existing relationships with fathers, involved fathers who had not previously been in contact with schools, and increased the range of involvement from fathers and wider family.

  • The fathers and children all gave positive assessments of the Fathers’ Friday initiative, saw beneficial outcomes from it, and expressed a desire for such activities to continue in the future.

  • Fathers’ Friday can create a behavioural norm of participation which is likely to lead men to take part in future activities.

  • Fathers often do not have the strong networks with each other and with childcare and educational settings that mothers have, and this can inhibit paternal involvement. On Fathers’ Friday men were able to create and build on such networks, although further work and events are needed in order to maintain them.

  • Fathers still face challenges, particularly from employment and unfamiliarity with schools and childcare settings, which limit their involvement in children’s education.

  • Engagement needs to be cultivated and supported, and will require a variety of approaches and events.


Bath University made a film of Fathers’ Friday at Moorlands School. 


**Click here for a link to the Fathers' Friday Film for 2012


How to make your Fathers’ Friday a success


Plan the day in advance

  • Give Fathers’ (or significant role models) as much notice as possible
  • Get the children involved to take home personalised letters
  • Have a theme for the day i.e. outdoor play, pirates, challenges, etc
  • Plan activities for the Dads to be involved in
  • Start the day with an assemble to explain the day
  • Involve other guests i.e. Governors
  • Ask agencies to help i.e. voluntary sector (BAPP, WPA)
  • Take pictures for the press
  • Think also about a ‘Mothers’ Monday’ for balance (around Mothers’ Day)


Other resourses for your Fathers' Friday event are on the right hand side of this web page under documents.

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