Skip to main content

Children: Two-parent families

Volume 684: debated on Monday 24 July 2006

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they will instigate research into the reported statistical link between children who grow up in stable, two-parent families and favourable outcomes at school and in later life.[HL6967]

The department is funding a range of studies including the Effective Provision of Pre-School Education (EPPE) study, the Millennium Cohort Study and the Sure Start National Evaluation which examine issues of family structure and educational outcomes.

Existing research suggests that while stable, two-parent families tend to be associated with favourable outcomes for children, factors such as work status, income, and family conflict and disharmony, are likely to be more influential than family structure alone.

The House of Commons Education and Skills Committee took oral evidence on this topic from four expert witnesses on 12 July 2006. The witnesses agreed that family structure was a relatively unimportant factor in predicting children's outcomes compared with other factors such as poverty. The uncorrected evidence can be found at the following link: