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The evidence shows very clearly that if we wish to give each child the chance to fulfill their potential, the foundation years before the age of five are absolutely critical. Support during this time is both one of the most effective types of intervention, and the most cost effective.
We know that supporting parents through parenting classes results in better outcomes for children. Parents should have the opportunity to seek and take up high quality parenting classes as and when they want it.
Around three-quarters of parents say they want information and support to help their parenting. The trial is about improving opportunities and choice for parents to access the information and support they want. We want to test what parents want from parenting education support and what motivates them to take up an offer of a parenting class.
CANparent stands for Classes and Advice Network and is an endorsement brand that is being used by a range of organisations and individuals, who are committed to connecting all parents to high quality support, advice and classes about parenting. CANparent is backed by government – including the Department for Education and the Department of Health – to enable the public, private and third sector to work together for the benefit of parents and children.
CANparent is running from Spring 2012 for two years, in three areas: Middlesbrough, High Peak (Derbyshire), and the London Borough of Camden. The aim is to reach over 50,000 parents. There is also a fourth trial area Bristol, where we are testing how a parenting classes market will develop without the use of vouchers or government subsidy.
CANparent offers £100 worth of parenting support to all mothers, fathers and carers with children aged 0 to 5 years within the trial areas. Vouchers worth £100 are being distributed by professionals working in Foundation Years services (for example, nurseries, children’s centres, midwives, health visitors).
Parents are able to redeem their voucher for parenting support with one of a number of parenting class providers in their area.
The themes covered in the classes include communication, managing relationships, play and learning, parenting styles and behaviour, rules and routines, and creating a supporting and nurturing home environment. The format of delivery is varied (face to face, online etc.) so meets a variety of learning preferences.
We want to create a culture where there is no stigma attached to seeking parenting advice and support. We also want to stimulate a market in high quality universal parenting classes and seek to change the culture so that attending a class is as normal to parents as attending antenatal classes.
We are also carrying out an evaluation of the trial which will provide evidence on a number of areas to help inform future development and opportunities in the parenting classes market.
We are working with a consortium including Ecorys, Parenting UK and Orion Security Print who provide local support and voucher services for the trial. This support involves engaging stakeholders in the trial areas, project management including collating management information for the evaluation, and printing and distributing vouchers.
The evaluation is being carried out by CEDAR, TNS-BMRB, Bryson Purdon Social Research, and London Economics.
To find out more about the benefits of delivering classes under the CANparent brand in Bristol and to apply, download the provider application form on this page. You can also download the CANparent Bristol Information Booklet which offers some helpful information for providers considering running classes in Bristol. The proposed concession contract is also available to download.
Parenting class trial
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Includes information on the Bristol trial area and how providers can apply to run their classes in Bristol as part of CANparent
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This contains some useful information about the local area, family and parenting in Bristol, links to schools, venues, and press and media contacts.
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This is the proposed concession contract for use with providers in Bristol.
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Includes more information about the trial, where you can pick up a voucher and what classes are available in the trial areas.
Includes information about how sector organisations can get involved with the trial and has a number of FAQs.
This link takes you to a list of providers outside the trial, hosted on our Family Strategic Partner's website.