Education

09.12.16

Sure Start closures almost double in one year

Sure Start early-years centres closed at an unprecedented rate in the past year, the government has revealed.

A written question by Dan Jarvis, the Labour MP for Barnsley North, revealed that 156 Sure Start centres closed in 2015, compared to 85 in 2014.

There were no closures in 2010, but the rate has been growing every year since then, with 12 in 2011, 27 in 2012 and 33 in 2013.

Jarvis said: “A child’s earliest years are critical to their future life chances. So early interventions like Sure Start should be the priority, because it is a smart investment for the future and it will give children the best start in life.

“With child poverty set to rise by 50% over this Parliament, thousands of families will be affected by these closures. We will all pay for this failure in years to come.”

Early years minister Caroline Dinenage, who answered Jarvis’ question, said that there are currently 3,259 centres open.

But Neil Leitch, chief executive of charity the Pre-School Learning Alliance, argued: “Children’s centres are a vital source of advice and practical support for families – especially those more disadvantaged families – and so for so many to be disappearing at a time when there is so much government rhetoric on ‘closing the gap’ and improving children’s life chances seems completely contradictory.”

He added that the children’s centres that remain open increasingly offer “a skeleton service” and called on the government to produce its “long overdue” children’s centres strategy.

Last year, a PSE investigation revealed that local authorities have cut their funding to children’s centres by nearly a third over the last five years.

But a Department for Education spokesperson argued that the closures could be down to councils “merging centres to allow services to be delivered more efficiently”.

Have you got a story to tell? Would you like to become a PSE columnist? If so, click here.

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

related

public sector executive tv

more videos >

latest public sector news

Thurrock Council approves £1bn town centre regeneration scheme to build nearly 3,000 homes

26/04/2019Thurrock Council approves £1bn town centre regeneration scheme to build nearly 3,000 homes

Thurrock Council has approved plans for a £1bn town centre regeneration which will see nearly 3,000 new homes created and generate around 2... more >
Potentially fatal road repair sees highways firm fined by Surrey County Council

26/04/2019Potentially fatal road repair sees highways firm fined by Surrey County Council

Surrey County Council has fined its highways maintenance contractor £30,000 for poor and potentially fatal road repairs following a prosecu... more >
Interserve awarded place on £450m NHS framework until 2022

26/04/2019Interserve awarded place on £450m NHS framework until 2022

Troubled contractor Interserve has been awarded a place on the NHS Shared Business Services (NHS SBS) framework for infrastructure and car park m... more >

editor's comment

25/10/2017Take a moment to celebrate

Devolution, restructuring and widespread service reform: from a journalist’s perspective, it’s never been a more exciting time to report on the public sector. That’s why I could not be more thrilled to be taking over the reins at PSE at this key juncture. There could not be a feature that more perfectly encapsulates this... read more >

last word

The importance of openness after Grenfell

The importance of openness after Grenfell

Following the recent Grenfell Tower tragedy, Lord Porter, chairman of the LGA, argues that if the public are going to have faith in the safety testing process then everything must be out in the o... more > more last word articles >
View all News

the raven's daily blog

Self-build builds potential for more and better homes

15/04/2019Self-build builds potential for more and better homes

The director of The Right to Build Task Force – which advises stakeholders on bringing on more custom and self-build homes – Mario Wolf, who is currently on secondment from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, discusses challenges the public sector needs to engage with to deliver housing supply growth. In... more >
read more blog posts from 'the raven' >

comment

Connecting the North East

15/04/2019Connecting the North East

Cabinet member for economic regeneration at Northumberland County Council Richard Wearmouth outlines the plans to reintroduce passenger services ... more >
How public sector IT can exploit the last 'big things'

15/04/2019How public sector IT can exploit the last 'big things'

Martin Ferguson, director of policy and research at Socitm, outlines the technology-related trends to look out for in the public sector throughou... more >
What about social care?

15/04/2019What about social care?

Glen Garrod, president of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS), outlines the challenges facing the social care workforce... more >
Brexit's systemic fallout

15/04/2019Brexit's systemic fallout

The third in a trilogy of Brexit articles for PSE, Chris Painter, Professor Emeritus at Birmingham City University, considers the wider constitut... more >

interviews

Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

17/12/2018Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

It’s no secret that the public sector and its service providers need to invest in technology to help make better use of their resources. Bu... more >
Digital innovation in the public sector: The future is now

17/12/2018Digital innovation in the public sector: The future is now

One of the public sector’s key technology partners has recently welcomed a new member to its team. Matt Spencer, O2’s head of public ... more >
New Dorset Councils CEO on the creation of a new unitary: ‘This is going to be the right decision for Dorset’

05/11/2018New Dorset Councils CEO on the creation of a new unitary: ‘This is going to be the right decision for Dorset’

The new chief executive of one of the new unitary authorities in Dorset has outlined his approach to culture and work with employees, arguing tha... more >
Keeping the momentum of the Northern Powerhouse

15/10/2018Keeping the momentum of the Northern Powerhouse

On 6 September, the biggest decision-makers of the north joined forces to celebrate and debate how to drive innovation and improvement through th... more >

public sector focus

View all News