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Parenting academy opens at King's

NOVEMBER 22, 2007

The National Academy of Parenting Practitioners (NAPP), based at the King’s Strand Campus officially opened its doors today, at an event, where the College Principal, Professor Rick Trainor and Professor Stephen Scott from the Institute of Psychiatry were joined by Children’s Minister Beverly Hughes, alongside the Academy’s newly appointed Chairman, Hilton Dawson and Chief Executive, Angela Sibson.

The Principle talked about the College’s commitment to the Academy’s success, and its main contribution in the form of the evidence-based research developed by Professor Scott.  This research forms the lynch pin in the Academy’s training programme for parent-training professionals.   
Speaking at the launch Rick Trainor added: “King’s College London is delighted to play a major role in this important initiative which will enhance the understanding, as well as the practice, of a vital area of social policy.  The Academy fits very well with the research-led nature of the College, with its emphasis on public policy and with King’s mission of service to society.’

Professor Trainor also formally announced the appointment of the new Chair of Parenting Studies at King’s, Mark Dadds, previously professor of Psychology at the University of New South Wales in Australia.  Professor Dadds will bring his international expertise as a renowned clinical psychologist who has directed several national intervention programmes for Australia’s most troubled children.
Professor Stephen Scott, Director of Research for NAPP, began by emphasising the uniqueness of the Academy – as the only centre of its kind in the world.  He stressed the importance of good parenting as an essential grounding for the development of an individual and how they relate to others through life.   Scott added: “All children deserve the best chance in life, whatever their circumstances. Unlike 20 years ago, there is now an evidence-based tool kit available to help parents maximise a child’s chances.”  
Professor Scott went on to introduce a handful of parents who had first hand experience of the parenting techniques, along with some parenting practitioners who currently deliver training courses.  One mother who admitted her reluctance to engage with the training, explained that the course had not only transformed her relationship with her child, but also dramatically improved her child’s behaviour.
A parenting practitioner told the assembled gathering that they believed this parenting tool kit drew out the strengths that parents already had and increased their confidence as parents.  
The National Academy for Parenting Practitioners launched at a reception in the River Room at the Strand Campus, will work directly with parenting practitioners to provide them with the high quality skills and knowledge they need to enable parents to deal with day to day challenges and give their children the best possible start in life.
Underpinned by the existing expertise of King’s College London, Family and Parenting Institute and Parenting UK, the Academy is a unique blend of practical knowledge, first class academic practice and regional networks – with funding provided by the Government.
The Academy’s aim is to improve the quality of support that is made available to practitioners and in turn parents through research, training and information.
There is a substantial workforce of people in the UK who offer professional advice and support to parents including through Sure Start Children’s Centres, schools and voluntary and community organisations.
Beverley Hughes, Children’s Minister said:  ‘Parents can learn a lot from each other about their children, and parenting programmes make for fascinating television, but for real help that makes a difference, parents need support from someone who is properly trained. That is why the new national academy is going to play such an important role. 
‘There is a clamour from parents for support with their children, and we want them to know that at some stage while their children are growing up it will be perfectly natural to ask for help. Raising a family is a huge responsibility and it is our job to make sure that support is available whenever parents need it. ‘
Hilton Dawson, Chair of the Academy speaking at the launch said: ‘At the moment there is a welcome range of parenting initiatives and a dramatic growth in the level of interest in parenting. However, there is also confusion about what really works, about the consistency and availability of parenting support across the country.
‘The Academy’s role is to provide a calm voice: high quality advice for practitioners on the parenting support that works best, a world class medium for ongoing research, a promoter of high professional standards for those working with parents, the engine to achieve effective roll out of quality parenting programmes across England and a critical friend and advisor to any Government which wants to take parenting seriously. ‘
Angela Sibson, Chief Executive of the Academy said: ‘The Academy’s key aim is to improve the quality of advice and support parents can expect from parenting practitioners. If we are to get this right, it is essential that we build our evidence and knowledge base and share good practice and what works with the parenting workforce. In driving forward policy and practice we aspire to be an international hub for the exchange of ideas and learning.’
Notes to Editors
King’s College London
King’s College London is the fourth oldest university in England with more than 13,700 undergraduates and nearly 6,200 graduate students in nine schools of study based at five London campuses. It is a member of the Russell Group: a coalition of the UK’s major research-based universities. The College has had 24 of its subject-areas awarded the highest rating of 5* and 5 for research quality, demonstrating excellence at an international level, and it has recently received an excellent result in its audit by the Quality Assurance Agency.
King’s has a particularly distinguished reputation in the humanities, law, international relations, medicine, nursing and the sciences, and has played a major role in many of the advances that have shaped modern life, such as the discovery of the structure of DNA. It is the largest centre for the education of healthcare professionals in Europe and is home to five Medical Research Council Centres – more than any other university.
King’s is in the top group of UK universities for research earnings, with income from grants and contracts of more than £114 million, and has an annual income of more than £369 million.

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