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Prime Minister announces trial of free parenting classes for all parents of children under five. The Prime Minister has outlined a range of support that is to be offered to parents. It will include:
- free parenting classes to all parents of children aged five years and under in three trial areas;
- a new digital service for parents-to be and new parents, providing regular emails and texts with timely information as their pregnancy develops and their child grows;
- expert organisations to deliver relationship support for first time parents in four trial areas of the country from this summer.
Free parenting classes will be offered to all parents of children aged five years and under in three trial areas – Middlesbrough, High Peak in Derbyshire and Camden in London.
Parents will be able to use vouchers, available from Boots stores, children's centres, health visitors and professionals who have contact with families to pay for the classes. The NCT, Coram, Save the Children, and the Fatherhood Institute are among those who are delivering classes.
The announcement coincides with the publication of a survey which reveals that a majority of the British public believes parents should automatically receive information on accessing parenting classes.
The Family Tracker survey, commissioned by the Family and Parenting Institute and carried out by YouGov, questioned 2483 adults in April 2012. It shows that 57 per cent of parents either agree or strongly agree that all parents should automatically receive information on how to access high quality classes about parenting. This rises to 65 per cent among parents of 0-4s.
Up to £5 million has been made available for the trial between March 2012 and March 2014. This includes funding for redemption of parenting class vouchers and an independent evaluation.
Relate, The Tavistock Centre for Couple Relationships and the Fatherhood Institute will deliver relationship support sessions for first time parents to support them with the transition to parenthood in four areas of the country – York and Leeds, North Essex, Hackney and City of London, Islington and Westminster – from this summer.