David Cameron plans parenting classes for all families – Telegraph.co.uk

Mr Cameron’s speech marks the latest step in delivering on the Conservatives’ key election promise to help families at every stage of life.

The parenting classes plan could prove controversial, with some likely to claim it represents a “nanny state” approach to the private lives of families.

But Mr Cameron believes all parents, not just families from deprived backgrounds, need to get parenting “right”, especially as children grow up after the early weeks and months.

Pushy parents who give their children piano lessons because they believe it will make them more intelligent are wasting their money, experts claim. Children who take music lessons tend to have better-educated, higher-earning parents, and to do more extra-curricular activities than other children their age  Photo: Alamy

In his speech he will say the Tories have already expanded the number of health visitors to help new mothers and fathers cope in the early weeks.

But this is not enough because children “don’t come with a manual”.

“Is it right that all of us get so little guidance?” he will ask. “What about later on, when it comes to good play, communication, behaviour and discipline? We all need more help with this – the most important job we’ll ever have.

“I believe we now need to think about how to make it normal – even aspirational to attend parenting classes,” he will say. A new government “Life Chances Strategy” will include a plan for “significantly expanding” parenting classes.

“It will examine the possible introduction of a voucher scheme for parenting classes and recommend the best way to incentivise parents to take them up,” Mr Cameron is expected to say.

The Prime Minister wants a key legacy of his time in power to be action to reduce poverty and help improve social mobility.

Figures suggest that families that break apart are twice as likely to experience poverty than those that stay together.

David Cameron says all parents should attend parenting classes David and Samantha Cameron  Photo: GETTY

Mr Cameron will announce that the amount of government money spent on relationship support will double from £35 million to £70 million over the next five years.

The funding is expected to help at least 300,000 more couples who are experiencing difficulties in their relationships, and will train 10,000 more professional counsellors to help prevent family breakdown.

“Families are the best anti-poverty measure ever invented,” Mr Cameron will say. “They are a welfare, education and counselling system all wrapped up into one.

“Children in families that break apart are more than twice as likely to experience poverty as those whose families stay together. That’s why strengthening families is at the heart of our agenda.”

Mr Cameron is also expected to announce that 100,000 mentors will be hired to help give guidance to teenagers who are at risk, with more money for rehabilitating drug addicts and treating alcohol addition.

Separately, the law on adoption will be overhauled to speed up the process of placing children with couples, with an extra £200 million of help for new adoptive parents.