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Family Life Ministry - Diocese of Leeds
Details of training courses

The Catechism of our Catholic Church tells us that

• Parents have the first responsibility for the education of their children

• The home is the natural environment for initiating a human being into solidarity and communal responsibilities


This one day course provides an introduction to the classic parenting programmes of the Family Caring Trust (FCT) and to the skills needed to set up and run the programmes with parents in parishes and schools. FCT parenting programmes offer a unique, rewarding and very cost effective way to help equip parents for their responsibilities and to grow mutually supportive local home school parish communities. They are a practical complement to sacramental catechesis eg baptism and are appropriate for universal use in nursery, primary, and secondary schools.

The day will be of interest to any parish, parents’ group or school wishing to start the process of supporting parents as well as to established communities looking for that something extra. Who should attend? This one day course is suitable for parents, grandparents, catechists, school support staff, governors and family support workers. The aims of the course:

• To introduce the history, values, principles and methodology of FCT parenting programmes • To look at adult learning, national Working With Parents guidelines and catechetical principles and techniques

• To consider managing groups and different behaviours within groups

• To experience participation in an FCT course including leading one with confidence The


Breda Theakston is an Approved Trainer with the Family Caring Trust whose experience includes 12 years as Family Life Ministry Coordinator with the Diocese of Leeds, 10 years with the Open University and service as a governor in state and Catholic schools.

  • Please state the age range of the children of the parents you expect to be working with 
  • Follow up mentoring and observation to qualify you further can be arranged independently, please ask us for details

Why Parenting?

Because "The well-being of the individual person and of human and Christian society is intimately linked with the healthy condition of that community produced by marriage and family" (Gaudium et Spes 47)

Parents provide the basis of our education for life

·         Parish Priests: usually spend 6 - 7 years training before ordination

·        Teachers: have spent usually 3 or 4 years in higher education before becoming teachers

How long do parents have in training or education on parenting?

Yet parenting is the most fundamental influence on a child’s life. Most schools are designed to work with children who are ready to learn. Getting a child from birth to ‘ready to learn’ is really not as easy as we might expect.

So, what can we do for parents who want to do the best for their children and for themselves and have lost some of the ease and leisure we might once have had for rearing children?

Family, friendship and faith networks are the natural safety net and relief for stressed and frustrated mums and dads. Sometimes though we are still not sure if what we are doing is ‘right’ or is ‘good enough’. This is when we can benefit from getting together with other mums and dads and following an enjoyable and enlightening and reassuring parenting programme.

For over 30 years FCT (Family Caring Trust) parenting programmes have been used in homes, schools, parishes, health centres, Sure Start and community centres all over the country as well as in many parts of the world www.familycaring.co.uk:

Taken from www.familycaring.co.uk: 


Parenting in the Early Years

From Pram to Primary School: 
Parenting small children from birth to age six or seven.

How do you cope with all the pressures of daily living and still meet small children's need for affection? How do you cope with children who won't eat or sleep or co-operate? How do you help children grow in confidence and self-esteem? Here is a simply written, jargon-free book that does not pretend it is easy, yet offers fresh, thought-provoking ideas, common sense suggestions and effective support to parents dealing with children from six months to seven years old.


Parenting School-Age Children

What Can a Parent Do?
Practical skills to help parents (of children aged 5-15) be happier and more effective.

Parents of children from five to fifteen describe this practical, simply-written book as a ‘lifesaver.’ Useful in reducing tension, squabbling, tantrums and fighting, establishing clearer, more respectful parenting guidelines, and making children happier and more responsible.


Parenting Teenagers

What Can Parents of a Teenager Do?

How and when and where do you draw the line with teenagers? How do you set limits? How do you cope with all the arguing, swinging moods, annoying habits, outright rebellion…? How can parents and teens learn to live together with respect for one another? These are some of the questions dealt with in this book. There is no suggestion that there are easy answers. What suits one parent may not work for another. But you will find respect here for the fact that you and your family are different. You will also find practical ideas to apply in your own way in your family. Many parents find that these ideas help to reduce tension and arguing and prepare teenagers for responsible adult living.


Parent Assertiveness

Being Assertive 
Ways of respecting others but not letting yourself be walked on - especially for parents

Being Assertive is designed for groups of up to twelve parents to learn skills that will help them to avoid both aggression and passivity, and to be firm, friendly and respectful with their children as well as with others.

Over the 7 weeks of the programme participants look at:

  • What assertiveness means
  • Saying ‘no’
  • Dealing with abuse and criticism
  • Giving constructive criticism
  • Encouragement and assertiveness
  • A way of life
  • Skills practice & review


FCT Parenting Programmes are written by parents for parents so are:

ü  Clear

ü  Easy to use

ü  Down to earth

ü  Based on the best adult educational practices

ü  Grounded in an understanding of the need for both firm love and gentle love

ü  A great place to hear ideas and share best practice with people like yourself

ü  Non-denominational (for use with parents of any, or no,  religious affiliation)


Ø  A course might have 6 or  8 sessions

Ø  Each session is only 1 1/2 to 2 hours long

Ø  Small groups, from own locale (eg school, parish, community group)

Ø  Accessible across cultural, gender, educational, faith, inter faith (or no faith) contexts


All parents and those in loco parentis including - granddads, grandmas, foster, adoptive and birth parents as well as single, separated, divorced, married, remarried and parents with disabilities or in prison


ü  Families

ü  Friendship groups

ü  Coffee mornings

ü  Community groups

ü  Ante- and post-natal groups

ü  Nurseries

ü  Sure Start/Children’s Centres

ü  Community Health Clinics

ü  Church groups

ü  Parishes

ü  Schools


Parenting Programmes are PERFECT for welcoming families into your church community and as complementary to your usual catechesis before during or after:

v  Baptism

v  First Holy Communion

v  Confirmation



Ø  Use with new mums and dads (Starting School)

Ø  Use when moving to High School (Transition)


You do - Call me 0113 261 8050 (Tuesdays in term time) or 07761715101 (anytime) to find out how to become a parenting facilitator for your family, friends, parish or school.


There are TWO main routes to getting the skills you need to run an FCT Parenting Programme:

1) Initial Training  for FCT Approved Parenting Facilitators. This is a one-day introduction for all new parenting facilitators and for experienced parenting facilitators who want a 'refresher'

Forthcoming Initial Training days:

BRADFORD: Wednesday 13th September 2017

LEEDS: Thursday 19th October 2017 

WAKEFIELD: Wednesday 8th November 2017

Details and Bookings: Contact Breda Theakston breda.theakston@dioceseofleeds.org.uk or 0113 261 8050


2) Accredited Training for Parenting Facilitators

'Parenting Programmes: Leading with Confidence' is also available and works best done as a deanery package. For instance in the Wakefield deanery one person from each parish and one from each school volunteered to train and to work together delivering parenting courses in school or parish. Contact us to find out how this Accreditted Training might work in your deanery. (This course can be attended without completing the assessed work necessary for accreditation.)

Contact me, Breda Theakston at breda.theakston@dioceseofleeds.org.uk or 0776 1715101

Related Links

Famiy Caring Trust: universal parenting courses and training for facilitators 

·         parentinguk.org : search for a parenting course

The National Parenting Institute: search for a course or register to advertise your courses

direct.gov.uk : find your local children's centre

·         netmums.com : parent support classes


·         naccc.org : child contact centres


Care for the Family 

Parish / Area : Contact Name: Phone: Dates: Time
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