Free Parenting Classes To Be Tested
Free parenting classes will be offered to all families with children under five years of age in a pilot scheme announced at the Liberal Democrat autumn conference.Â
Children's Minister Sarah Teather told activists that vouchers for classes would be handed out to mothers and fathers in three or four trial areas to help parents who feel "under pressure".
Local authorities will also share Â£331m to fund a year of pre-school education for disadvantaged two-year-olds in 2013, expanding the current scheme for three- and four-year-olds.
Ms Teather vowed to "break the link between your birth and your fate" telling conference the Government needs to intervene before youngsters arrive at school because "inequality starts early".
"The Government should do all it can, without interfering in family life, to support parents to be the best they possibly can be," she said.
"The first few years of a child's life can be the toughest period for parents' relationships. And these early years are also the most crucial for healthy child development.
"Parenting classes can be life-changing because they give parents the skills to manage challenging situations, give their children clear and firm boundaries and help them learn the consequences of their actions. This strengthens families and means children are better behaved, more respectful and can achieve more at school.
"Increasing help, advice and support before a child reaches school age also reduces the likelihood of families needing more expensive support later on. It makes moral, social and economic sense."
In a crowd-pleasing move Ms Teather also announced funding for the pupil premium - a policy devised by the Lib Dems which pays extra cash to schools for each pupil they take from a low-income family - will double to Â£1.25bn in 2012/13.
The rise is part of the coalition's overall plan to increase the funding pot to Â£2.5bn by 2014-15.