SHADOW children’s minister Alison McGovern has visited a Shoreham school to learn more about new parenting classes.
Parent Gym introduced the free programme at Buckingham Park Primary School, where the first six-week course has just finished.
Ms McGovern observed the final session last Wednesday and spoke to parents to find out how the course had helped them.
“I heard great things about this school and wanted to come to see these classes for myself,” she said.
“If you think about the biggest challenges our country faces, parenting has to be one of them. Childcare is now really on the political agenda. The challenge is to make sure there is support for the parents.
“We know so much more about nurturing now but how do you get those skill to the parents? I think this is a brilliant idea.”
It has really helped people. The thing that makes the difference is actually talking to each otherPippa Bird, Buckingham Park Primary’s inclusion leader
Pippa Bird, the school’s inclusion leader, said the Parent Gym course had made a real difference.
She plans to report back to other head teachers in the area to encourage others to run something similar.
Classes of 20 parents took part in the six-week programme, learning techniques to make family life run more smoothly and provide a home environment in which children can flourish.
Mrs Bird said: “It is not about deprived parents, there are people of all ages and grandparents as well.
“It has really helped people. The thing that makes the difference is actually talking to each other.
“The feedback has been brilliant and this has also encouraged the parents to come to new courses we are running on helping children with maths and writing.
“This programme has been one of the most successful they have run and actually, it is really the fact that the parents are on board here. It has got a big community feel about it.”
Geethika Jayatilaka, director of Parent Gym, said the programme has been running in London for four years, reaching around 3,000 parents, and is expanding to the Brighton area.
“How children are raised has an enormous impact on their later lives and for society as a whole,” she said.
“We are currently seeking schools and volunteers to help us reach more families. Schools or volunteers interested in working with us should contact firstname.lastname@example.org.”