Children, Schools and Families Bill

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Defence – in the House of Commons at 7:55 pm on 11th January 2010.

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Photo of Graham Allen Graham Allen Labour, Nottingham North 7:55 pm, 11th January 2010

There are many things that flow from having effective social and emotional capabilities. That will impact on teenage pregnancy, and it will impact massively on aspiration. A young person who is rounded, self-confident and aware of their ability to interact with others will make much more of themselves than a child who is not, often through no fault of their own but perhaps through ineffective parenting in the early years. A child who has those capabilities will aspire, seek employment, and have the desire to attain educational qualifications, and will not get into trouble with the bad lads or get involved in vandalism and antisocial behaviour. We must give those children that most precious, lifelong gift, to enable them to do the best for themselves. That is the absolute antithesis of the nanny state. The proposals represent an important step towards achieving that, and the Government are to be commended for introducing them.

I want briefly to respond to a point raised by my right hon. Friend Caroline Flint. She described the desperation of reaching the end of the line with some parents, and the necessity of imposing a parenting order. I hope that I am not putting words into her mouth, but is it not a kind of failure to have reached that point? I do not want to suggest that I am waving a magic wand, but we need to get to those kids and their parents earlier than that point of failure, because penalising them is not the way to make progress. If we can get to them much earlier, they will be able to make their own way.

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