The Corner

For the Children

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry:

Parents could be forced to go to special classes to learn to sing their children nursery rhymes, a minister said. Those who fail to read stories or sing to their youngsters threaten their children’s future and the state must put them right, Children’s Minister Beverley Hughes said. Their children’s well-being is at risk ‘unless we act’, she declared. And Mrs Hughes said the state would train a new ‘parenting workforce’ to ensure parents who fail to do their duty with nursery rhymes are found and ‘supported’…Mrs Hughes has established a national curriculum to set down how babies are taught to speak in childcare from the age of three months. Her efforts have gone alongside a push by other ministers to determine exactly how parents treat their children down to how they should brush their teeth. Tony Blair has backed the idea of ‘fasbos’ – efforts to identify and correct the lives of children who are likely to fail even before they are born – and new laws to compel parents to attend parenting classes are on the way. This autumn is likely to see an extension of parenting orders that can force parents to attend parenting classes so that they can be used on the say so of local councils against parents. For the first time, parenting orders are likely to be directed against parents whose children have committed no criminal offence. The threat of action against parents who fail to sing nursery rhymes was unveiled by Mrs Hughes as she gave the first details of Mr Blair’s ‘national parenting academy’, a body that will train teachers, psychologists and social workers to intervene in the lives of families and become the ‘parenting workforce’.

Parenting workforce?

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