Nav: Home

Parents positive about classes

January 21, 2016

Mums and dads are likely to sign up for parenting classes - but only if there is adequate funding, according to new research.

Academics at the University of Warwick have conducted a three year trial to evaluate the success of the classes proposed by the Government. They found that the sessions held were popular with parents, however when funding available to the providers of the classes was withdrawn there was a sharp decrease in activities and parents' participation.

The CANparent trial evaluation was led by Professor Geoff Lindsay, director of the Centre for Educational Development, Appraisal and Research (CEDAR) at the University of Warwick. He said: "The trial indicated that parents are keen to attend classes and those who did were overwhelmingly positive about their experience. However the number of parents participating dropped when the number of providers decreased from 12 to six following removal of funding worth £100 per parent."

The trial aimed to evaluate parenting classes aimed at parents of all children aged 0-5 (later changed to 0-6 years) in three areas: Middlesbrough, High Peak in Derbyshire, and Camden in London. The sessions were offered to all parents and designed to enhance parenting skills and confidence as a parent, stimulate a commercial market for the classes and prevent the need for future expensive support for parents who were struggling.

Held in two phases (2012-14 & 2014-2015) a key factor during phase 1 was the provision of a £100 voucher for each eligible parent to attend a programme of parenting classes delivered by an approved provider. One of the major changes during the second phase of the trial (2014-15) was the withdrawal of the vouchers.

Professor Lindsay said: "The classes provided during both phases helped improve parents' confidence in their parenting skills. They reported the sessions have led to changes in their behaviour, with positive impact on their children. In addition mothers and fathers said they would recommend them to friends and many have done so. This indicates the importance of gaining and maintaining momentum as a key factor in the successful expansion of the uptake of the sessions. However parents in phase 1 were reluctant to pay for classes."

In addition, whereas phase 1 (2012-14) of the CANparent trial was successful in encouraging providers to deliver the courses, phase 2 saw the number of providers drop from 12 to six, of which only four were active in delivering parenting classes, as they received no direct subsidy available from the vouchers available in phase 1. Due to the lack of classes on offer the number of parents enrolling in phase 2 was just 164 compared with 2956 during phase 1.

The final report of the evaluation recommends that the government at national and local levels should recognise the value of parenting classes as they were found to have a positive impact on parents throughout the trial. It also recommends local government and the local NHS should be open to working with providers to offer support to service users. Finally future trials should analyse how and when to move from a subsidised phase, such as the use of vouchers, and what support may need to be put in place.
-end-
The report can be viewed here http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/cedar/canuniversalparentingevaluation/

Notes to Editors

The final report of phase 1 is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/canparent-trial-evaluation-final-report

CANparent Trial Evaluation Phase 2: research team: Geoff Lindsay, University of Warwick; Mairi Ann Cullen, University of Warwick; Stephen Cullen, University of Warwick; Vaso Totsika, University of Warwick; Ioanna Bakopoulou, University of Warwick; Jane Barlow, University of Warwick; Richard Brind, TNS BMRB; Shadi Chezelayagh, TNS BMRB; Gavan Conlon; London Economics.

The work of the trial was conducted by third sector organisations that provided parenting classes and led by a consortium of Family Lives (previously Parenting UK) and Ecorys, who were also responsible for leading a market development programme across the country on CANparent, developing its website and developing the CANparent quality mark.

University of Warwick

Related Research Articles:

More Research News and Research Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Listen Again: Reinvention
Change is hard, but it's also an opportunity to discover and reimagine what you thought you knew. From our economy, to music, to even ourselves–this hour TED speakers explore the power of reinvention. Guests include OK Go lead singer Damian Kulash Jr., former college gymnastics coach Valorie Kondos Field, Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs, and entrepreneur Nick Hanauer.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#562 Superbug to Bedside
By now we're all good and scared about antibiotic resistance, one of the many things coming to get us all. But there's good news, sort of. News antibiotics are coming out! How do they get tested? What does that kind of a trial look like and how does it happen? Host Bethany Brookeshire talks with Matt McCarthy, author of "Superbugs: The Race to Stop an Epidemic", about the ins and outs of testing a new antibiotic in the hospital.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Dispatch 6: Strange Times
Covid has disrupted the most basic routines of our days and nights. But in the middle of a conversation about how to fight the virus, we find a place impervious to the stalled plans and frenetic demands of the outside world. It's a very different kind of front line, where urgent work means moving slow, and time is marked out in tiny pre-planned steps. Then, on a walk through the woods, we consider how the tempo of our lives affects our minds and discover how the beats of biology shape our bodies. This episode was produced with help from Molly Webster and Tracie Hunte. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.