Researchers are calling for a national campaign to improve the quality of parenting, as a way of encouraging social mobility. The policy group, Centre Forum, suggests the Government should use a model similar to the five-a-day scheme for fruit and vegetables, to give parents manageable steps, such as reading to their child, praising them and talking to them with the television switched off.
The BBC's Nicola Stanbridge spoke to a father of three and asked him whether good parenting can really be learned.
Speaking on the programme Graham Allen MP, author of a report on early intervention commissioned by the government, told Today presenter James Naughtie that a national campaign could break patterns of inadequate parenting.
"It's an intergenerational cycle which repeats poor parenting and if you represent a constituency like mine in Nottingham North, which traditionally has had one of the highest rates of teen pregnancy in western Europe and fewest number of people going to university, breaking out of that cycle to give every individual child the chance to reach its potential is really important, particularly for children from low income backgrounds."
But Telegraph journalist Cristina Odone said that government intervention "is a diktat" and that voluntary action is a better approach.
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