Families and Schools Together (FAST)

Blueprints approved

FAST is a two-year programme designed to prevent school failure, aggression, delinquency and substance use in at-risk school children aged 5-10. Groups of 8-12 families meet for eight consecutive weeks. Sessions last 2.5 hours and take place after school. Meetings are facilitated by a team of trained facilitators, including, for example, parents (ideally a FAST graduate), mental health specialists, and school and community agency representatives. Each session includes a family meal, family communication games (supported by coaching), time for parents to talk with other parents while children play under supervision, and parent-child one-to-one (also supported by coaching). This is followed by monthly multi-family group meetings (2.5-4 hours) for two years led by parents who have completed the programme and who decide on the agenda for each meeting.

Target group School children aged 5-10 who are perceived as being 'at risk'.
Focus of intervention
    Level of intervention
    • Universal prevention
    • Selective prevention
    Outcomes affected
    • Doing well in school
    • Good behaviour
    • Regulating emotions
    Impact of intervention

    Test scores: 0.10
    Externalising behavior symptoms: -0.30*
    Internalising symptoms: 0.04

    *statistically significant at p<0.05

    Figure(s) taken from this report.

    Risk & protective factors targeted

    Cost-benefit analysis

    Source of benefits

    Contact information

    Lynn McDonald, PhD
    Founder and Developer, FAST programme
    Social Work and Mental Health
    Middlesex University
    Archway Campus
    2-10 Highgate Hill
    London N19 5LW


    Local authorities running the intervention in the UK
    • UK-wide

    Please contact us if you are running this intervention in the UK.