Government offers parenting classes

The Government has launched parenting classes offering families advice on everything from getting children to sleep, to discipline.

Families with children under the age of five can pick up a £100 voucher from their local Boots or community centres and surgeries which can then be exchanged for the classes.

Prime Minister David Cameron denied the initiative was unnecessary state intervention.

"This is not the nanny-state, it's the sensible state," he said.

"It's ludicrous that we should expect people to train for hours to drive a car or use a computer, but when it comes to looking after a baby we tell people to just get on with it.

"I would have loved more guidance when my children were babies. We've all been there when it's the middle of the night, your child won't stop crying and you don't know what to do."

The classes are accompanied by a website and tailored email and text service for new parents.

The parenting classes are being piloted in Middlesbrough, Camden in north London, and High Peak, Derbyshire, but could be rolled out across England and Wales if successful.

Shadow education secretary Stephen Twigg said: "Any new scheme must be able to reach a wide range of parents from different backgrounds and provide real value for money."