Lord Northbourne (Crossbench)
My Lords, I am most grateful to the Minister. Perhaps I may say to the noble Baroness, Lady Blatch, that when we have time, I shall have to give her a little education about the nature of parenting courses. It is simply an illusion to think that a well designed parenting course lays down values; it is about discussing values. It lays down facts. For example, a child would probably be taught as a fact that a baby that is constantly hit develops certain characteristics that make it violent. That is a scientific fact. But when it comes to what we do about that and what people want to do about that, young people are encouraged to work out and discuss their solutions, which are often extremely intelligent and sensible. As I said, it is not about trying to dictate a perfect way of parenting because, as the noble Baroness, Lady Walmsley, said, no such thing exists.
Turning to the Minister, I thank her very much for such encouraging and helpful remarks. But when I read the framework, it did not read like that. It simply did not say that. I wonder whether the noble Baroness could arrange for someone to show me where she finds what she described in the literature, because it sounded great. But that is not what I read in the statutory framework.
I agree that voluntary bodies have an extremely important role to play. I further agree that it is extremely important to address those issues at all ages. But the long and short of it is that school is the only time when we have the children there, except possibly in the ante-natal clinic. It must be right to make use of that opportunity to begin to encourage them to think about those issues. For the time being, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.