- Parents of under fives will be given vouchers to buy lessons from independent providers
- They will cover discipline, diet, exercise, family rows, bullying and preparing children for school
- £5million trial scheme will be launched in three areas – but could be extended quickly
22:05, 12 May 2012
22:23, 12 May 2012
Combating yobbery: David Cameron hopes the scheme will help halt the breakdown in family discipline
David Cameron is planning to stem the tide of child yobbery blighting Britain – by giving families £100 vouchers for parenting classes.
Mothers and fathers will be able to collect the free vouchers at branches of Boots from tomorrow, entitling them to up to ten two-hour sessions on how to bring up their children.
The Prime Minister hopes the scheme will combat the breakdown in family discipline blamed for last year’s riots – and that using a High Street store to distribute the vouchers will end the stigma attached to parenting lessons.
Currently, the courts can impose such classes on irresponsible parents, but Ministers hope this scheme will make them ‘as normal and pleasant as going to a cookery or line-dancing class’.
Under the scheme, to be launched in three test areas, mothers and fathers of under-fives will each be eligible for £100 vouchers, which they can use to buy lessons offered by independent organisations such as the National Childbirth Trust, netmums.com and Parentgym, the company run by Mr Cameron’s friend and former adviser, Octavius Black.
Lessons will cover discipline, diet, exercise, coping with family rows, good manners, bullying, reading bedtime stories and generally preparing children for school.
Grandparents and others carers will also qualify for the classes, which include access to online video lessons on the do’s and don’ts of bringing up children.
The trial scheme in Middlesbrough, Camden in North London and High Peak in Derbyshire, will cost £5 million.
But the bill could soar to hundreds of millions, if, as Mr Cameron intends, it is extended rapidly throughout England and Wales and to cover children of all ages.
Critics say the scheme will be an expensive and ineffective extension of the nanny state.
The idea is the swansong of Mr Cameron’s head of strategy, Steve Hilton, the colourful ‘blue skies thinker’ who leaves Britain this week for a year as a lecturer in California.
A Downing Street official said: ‘We want parenting classes to become as normal as attending an ante-natal class, as huge numbers of couples already do.
Voucher: The £100 token which will be handed out in selected Boots store from tomorrow as part of a £5million trial
Childcare: The vouchers will entitle parents to up to ten two hour sessions on how to bring up children
‘At present, courts can order feckless parents to attend parenting lessons. We want ordinary, decent people who struggle to cope with the everyday problems of bringing up children to take part.
‘We are using Boots to hand out the vouchers because it is all part of the process of making it a normal, respectable experience. If we asked people to queue up at their local social security offices to get them, no one would be interested.
‘Going to Boots is a world apart from going to the DSS office.
‘Parents could pick up a voucher over the counter when they buy their toothpaste.
‘Going to a parenting class should be as normal and pleasant as going a cookery or a line-dancing class.’
The vouchers cannot be exchanged for cash, nor spent on other items in Boots. Nor will Boots be paid to run the scheme, although it is expected to benefit from extra visitors to its stores.
Collection point: The government hope using Boots on the high street to distribute the vouchers will help end the stigma attached to parenting classes
Officials from Education Secretary Michael Gove’s department, which is overseeing the project, are also in talks with other major stores about distributing the vouchers.
The scheme will be called Can Parent – an abbreviation of Classes and Advice Network – although some of Mr Cameron’s officials have dubbed it ‘Cam Parent’.
Downing Street insiders believe that the scheme will reinforce Mr Cameron’s traditional family man image, seen as one of his biggest political assets.
When parents collect their voucher, they will receive a pamphlet which states: ‘We know that happy, confident mums and dads have happy confident children.
‘Being a parent can be brilliant and challenging all at the same time. Children change so fast, and every family is different. Sometimes you might find yourself unsure of how to handle an issue, and want advice to help you feel more confident.’
Meanwhile, Nick Clegg will tomorrow announce a £50 million project to offer children from disadvantaged backgrounds two weeks of intensive ‘catch-up’ lessons over the summer holidays.
Launching the scheme in 2,100 secondary schools, the Deputy Prime Minister is expected to say: ‘It is no longer good enough to just close the classroom doors on these children as soon as the bell rings at the end of term.’
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Frankly, if you need lessons… Should you be a parent in the first place? That’s the issue Davey C should be tackling.
– Lucy, Surrey, UK, 12/05/2012 22:14
So what’s your solution? Sterilise them?
It absolutely depends on who is teaching the parenting classes.
As an example, you all know, Jo Frost is NOT a left liberal. and that is WHY
he methods work.
I doubt he’s suggesting this solves the problem! But it’s helping those that want help and that can’t be such a bad thing
You can’t buy manners and class. The underclass will continue to raise feral children. That is why commoners don’t run the country.
These idiots really don’t have a clue, we must get them out. We need to do away with Labour and ConDems in this country.. It’s just not working and it’s been proven time and time again.
Ooooh…more millions into the pockets of Dave’s mates….because these sessions are certainly NOT ‘free’…the taxpayers will be paying a fortune for them. All these ‘schemes’, supposedly to help the unemployed and disadvantaged, seem more like scams to me. They never help the people they purport to be helping, they just help the ‘agency’ owners to buy another yacht…at our expense.
This government is totally incompetent. This problem stems from giving children rights and not giving teachers rights to discipline. Benefits for uneducated mothers also creates this along with no judicial system and an incompetent social services. More money wasted. Cameron, you are the worst PM that this country has ever seen. Blair made the mess and you are making it worse. You, the libdems and labour are all socialists. Not ONE of you are fit to run this country.
Is he having a laugh???
THAT’S PATHETIC! BRING BACK BORSTAL.
The loller has lost the plot. Where can we get him vouchers for being a better Prime Minister?
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