David Cameron denies parenting classes 'nanny state'

 

David Cameron: ''Parents want help''

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Describing vouchers for parenting classes in England as a "nanny state" policy is "nonsense", David Cameron has said.

In three trial areas, those with children aged up to five can get a £100 voucher towards parenting classes.

The PM has also announced a new NHS online information service for parents of very young children.

Labour said it had an "open mind" but schemes needed to be "value for money" and reach a "wide range of parents".

Defending the policy, David Cameron said: "I think this whole debate about nanny state is nonsense.

"Parents want help. It is in our interest as a society to help people bring up their children.

"We're taught to drive a car. We're taught all sorts of things at school. I think it makes perfect sense to help people with parenting."

He denied that a focus on parenting and childcare was a diversion from "big issues" like the economy.

The vouchers are now available from health professionals and on the high street through the chemist Boots.

Start Quote

Britain's families need Supernanny, not the nanny state”

End Quote David Cameron in 2006

The scheme, known as Can Parent, was launched in October 2011. It is being piloted in Middlesbrough, Camden in London and High Peak in Derbyshire.

The government hopes to encourage demand for these kind of classes and "reduce the stigma of asking for information, advice and help with parenting."

In addition, the government is launching a new NHS online service for parents covering areas such as breastfeeding, nappy changing and post natal depression.

Expectant parents or those with a baby under a month old will be able to sign up for text and email alerts providing them with "regular, relevant and tailored" advice including short information films and advice from other parents.

From July, subsidised relationship support services will be available for new parents and those expecting in several trial areas: York, Leeds, North Essex, Hackney, the City of London, Islington and Westminster. The scheme will not be extended to Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, if successful.

Mr Cameron said he would have liked parenting lessons himself.

"I've got three, and the youngest is not yet two, and I still sometimes think I would love to have a bit more information about how to get them to do the things I need them to do sometimes," he told ITV1's Daybreak.

However, in 2006 in a speech to the National Family and Parenting Institute, Mr Cameron suggested parents found TV programmes like Supernanny more useful than parenting classes.

"In recent years, there's been an explosion of information about bringing up children: TV programmes like Wifeswap and Supernanny, books and magazines, and online resources," said Mr Cameron.

"These can be more useful than formal options like parenting classes, to which there is often a stigma attached.

"So we should encourage the growth of modern forms of parenting advice.

"Britain's families need Supernanny, not the nanny state."

Shadow education secretary, Stephen Twigg said he would keep an "open mind" on parenting classes but said the government "has hit families with children hard" with cuts to tax credits and Sure Start centres.

He said: "Most importantly, any new scheme must be able to reach a wide range of parents from different backgrounds and provide real value for money."

 

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  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 162.

    Another quango. Thought Dave & Co were closing them down, or does another mate need a job.

    STOP WASTING TAXPAYERS MONEY, DAVE.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 161.

    Those saying this is the nanny state wouldn't do so if they were a small child being brought up by hopeless parents. Not everyone has strong family to help them

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 160.

    I am not sure that parenting classes will help much in solving a very complex problem, I cannot see how they could make the problem worse.

    But those denying that there is a problem to be solved must have been performing ostrich impressions for years.

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 159.

    The past 2 generations have correctly rejected the officious parenting of Victorian ages but have gone to the opposite degree and created self centered children with a lack of EQ and no idea how act as adults. However, I would have thought that funding TV companies to provide programs teaching such skills would have a far stronger reach...

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 158.

    Cameron should have signed up for classes on how to be a Prime Minister rather than just a PR person with time on his hands sending personal texts to Rebekah Brooks LOL !

    He has to be one of the most ineffectual PM's the country has had to endure.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 157.

    If it isn't compulsory, I don't think accusations of 'nanny state' are justified – if people want help, then they can have it, and if they don't, no-ones's forcing them. That said, I imagine that those who most need the help probably don't realise it and won't bovver, innit?

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 156.

    Something is badly wrong with our society if disjointed families need this kind of help and advice. Of course, if many of the parents could tear themselves away from the TV soaps and the pub, play outdoors with their children and give them bedtime stories to help them read and communicate, the situation might be improved. Oh, and sticking to the marriage vows might help, too.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 155.

    I dont see this as being 'nanny state'. If help is at hand for parents who are struggling then a bit of free advice and reassurance where-ever it comes from can only be a good thing. When so many youngsters were running amok through british cities last summer the writing was firmly on the wall that parents were failing. Interesting how the offenders seem to of come from all classes and colours.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 154.

    I love this. The Government decide to spend some money offering a service that is a very good, yet the left whinge about it. Wonder why? Could it be that they want the only government spending to go on public service wages? You can't win with some people.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 153.

    This money would be better spent on care and homes for the elderly. There are family, books, friends that can help with parenting advise. As usual what a waste of the taxpayers money!!

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 152.

    I am so surprised that so many are against something that can surely only be good? Parenting classes don't tell you what to do! They don't make everyone parenting the same. They provide many tools to help with parenting. Explain different things about how you and your child interact. All on the basis of having good communication with your child to encourage positive behaviour. How can that be bad?

  • rate this
    -5

    Comment number 151.

    To be fair he is right. Parents do need help. FINANCIAL help, not "parenting classes". How about starting the 15 free hours from the age of 1 years old rather than 3. At least that makes it slightly affordable to go to work then!

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 150.

    “I still sometimes think I would love to have a bit more information about how to get them to do the things I need them to do sometimes,"

    Just threaten them will total nuclear annihilation if they don't take the position in the bullingdon club, that should psychologically adjust them, shouldn’t it ?

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 149.

    Citizenship classes for the parents would be a better step

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 148.

    Methinks the ones most likely to benefit from parenting classes are the ones least likely to attend

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 147.

    You learn more by using your own brain.That must be false?Every idea the Government has come up with has been an Epic Fail.I know im not dummed down,but i suspect some on here have been.Bad parenting happens across all social spectrums.Stop picking on the Underclass please,as it makes you look dummed down.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 146.

    My concern with this scheme is that the parenting classes will almost certainly be put on by a company who are uncomfortably close to the government, who stand to make a small fortune from this scheme, and who will never be called to account for the spiralling costs.

    At a time when funds are tight the last thing we need is another "Brain Gym" farce at tax-payers expense!

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 145.

    I think this is actually a pretty good idea. It's only really nanny state if it was compulsory to attend, but services that provide a reliable source of information are the kind of things that some parents really need.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 144.

    comment 120. Why do so many think "school" should teach everything. Swimming is being complained about now. Some schools only have 6 wks to teach with pool staff also instructing. With kids taken from school for hols/shopping some will have even less time. Very few take their kids to swim at all. Our tax being spent on these vouchers is a waste. ask midwives/surgeries/library about options

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 143.

    We face a very real problem of children raising children in this country. They can't depend on peers for sound advice, often have absent or negligent parents themselves; the result? Last summer's riots, for one. A culture of living off benefits, for another. So many on this forum are quick to criticise, but it's not all about you. I've mature friends who are recent parents; they're learning daily.

 

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