1. ITV Report

Government to issue vouchers for parenting classes

The free vouchers will be distributed through high street pharmacy chain Boots. Photo: REUTERS/Toby Melville

The Government is to issue £100 vouchers for parenting classes in an attempt to stem the breakdown of family discipline blamed by ministers for last year's riots.

The free vouchers will be distributed through Boots, the high street chemist, as part of a strategy to ensure as wide a take-up as possible, according to The Mail on Sunday.

Known as Can Parent - the scheme is said to be the brainchild of David Cameron's strategy adviser Steve Hilton, who is leaving No 10 to lecture in California for a year.

The Department for Education, which will oversee the scheme, confirmed that an announcement was imminent.

"We want all families to be able to easily access excellent information on parenting. We will be making an announcement about this next week,"

Under the government's plan parents will be entitled to up to 10 two-hour sessions of advice on how best to bring up their children.

Initially the scheme will be piloted in three areas - Middlesbrough, Camden in north London and High Peak, Derbyshire - but could be extended throughout England and Wales if it proves a success.

Parents will be able to use the vouchers to buy lessons from independent organisations such as the National Childcare Trust.

Currently the courts can impose such classes on the parents of unruly children, but ministers hope that the involvement of Boots will persuade families to see them as normal as ante-natal classes.

A No 10 official told The Mail on Sunday:

We are using Boots to hand out the vouchers because it is all part of the process of making it a normal, respectable experience. If we asked people to queue up at their local social security offices to get them, no-one would be interested.

"Going to a parenting class should be as normal and pleasant as going to a cookery or a line-dancing class."