The Prime Minister David Cameron is in the news today announcing details of a pilot scheme known as CANparent (Classes and Advice Network) for new parents that will run initially in Middlesbrough, High Peak in Derbyshire and Camden in London. Parents with children aged up to 5 years will get a £100 voucher to use towards parenting classes.
The Vouchers will entitle Mums, Dads, Grandparents and other carers up to ten 2 hour sessions available from independent organisations such as the National Childbirth Trust (NCT), which will cover issues such as ‘communicating and staying calm’ ‘parents working together’ and ‘different stages of your child’s development’.
The official Government website for the scheme www.canparent.org suggests that courses will also be available online in interactive sessions, and they are suggesting that parents utilise parenting forums such as Netmums and Mumsnet- some courses I looked at seem to have follow up sessions actually on the forum boards. A quick glance through the different courses available in the trial areas shows that many face-to-face sessions don’t have creche facilities, however, and there is also some controversy about the decision to distribute the vouchers through Boots, the High Street chemist. Time will tell how successful the trial will be- let’s hope the classes recommend essential bits of sanity saving kit for new parents such as the Baby Feed Wheel!