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Do We Honestly Need Any More?


sadiesmith
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I went across to my local CC last week with a colleague not involved in early years but as an advisor to me. Beautiful building, superb equipment. This is one of TEN in my borough. My friend asked the manager when were they opening? HORROR. At 2.00pm on a Friday there were NO CHILDREN, NO PARENTS and saw TWO staff on duty.

The irony is that they have been open over 6 months.

Please government stop pouring money into facilites that arent needed. I have no objection if they are. But does my local authority, a small one need ten? Obviously not.

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I quite agree,

 

I'm not sure the research behind needing another one is some areas is justified. We have some great facilities in our area and a lovely Children's Centre . . there are plans for another pre-school - but seriously, couldn't there have been more help for the two that closed down instead of building another one?!

 

It does seem a little foolish especially when we are all closing the purse strings with the dodgy market on the horizon. :o

 

Cirhossa1

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there are three in the small town next to us....and one has crashed so much, we were asked if we'd like to take it over, lock stock and barrel and at no charge! tempting though it might have been, we were also asked to take on the staff,who were on higher wages than us, and make them redundant, at our own expense. with the other niggles we had, we decided it just wasn't on.......................but they had had thousands of pounds spent on the new building, new toys, equipment etc.Loord nows what will happen to it...

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there are three in the small town next to us....and one has crashed so much, we were asked if we'd like to take it over, lock stock and barrel and at no charge! tempting though it might have been, we were also asked to take on the staff,who were on higher wages than us, and make them redundant, at our own expense. with the other niggles we had, we decided it just wasn't on.......................but they had had thousands of pounds spent on the new building, new toys, equipment etc.Loord nows what will happen to it...

 

 

I wonder what they do with the stuff too...I've been filling out tedious forms for a funding bid and it states that if we go down, the council will reposess the items..ok, I can see that, but then where do they go? I've never had or been offered anything from the council - other than finance.

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Its bizarre isn't it, a childrens centre has opened in my local town. It was built on the site of a pre-existing pre-school and can only hold the same amount of children as the pre-school did before it opened. There is a great need for a bigger pre-school and another school in the town as the growth rate of the town is incredible but as of yet nothing.

 

They don't seem to be doing their research very well do they.

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A preschool in a local one has now closed.. they a re refurbishing and changing one of the outdoor areas into a library and using the playroom and smaller outside area into a stay and play. This is in an area which needed the facility, obviously not used enough or too costly to run.

Other CCs in our area don't all have the childcare element

 

But it does make you ask if all the viability and need for these is being completed in enough detail if they are open but with no children.. others would all have to close it it happened.

 

Inge

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As a teacher in a Children's Centre I suppose I am biased towards them but I totally agree with what has been said about the 'need' for them in some areas.

Our's is one of the Phase One centres and is in an area which is in the top 1% of deprived areas in the country and the need here is great, our biggest workload being family support rather than childcare.although we do rent space to a PVI with whom we work closely.

As was mentioned, if you came into our centre on a friday afternoon you wouldn't probably see many parents or children on the premises either but our family support team would be out working with them in their homes. (We have recently had to employ more staff because of the workload).

So please don't give people the impression that all centres are the same.

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And it may well be, CCT that if someone as knowledgeable as you were on hand to explain this to sadiesmith and her friend when they visited, they may have got a better impression of what the Children's Centre is all about.

 

Certainly the centre I volunteer at is providing a wide range of services to families who would otherwise probably not access these services at all - these families probably don't qualify as 'most excluded' but I'd say they are excluded to some extent, and the children's centre manager is doing a sterling job of supporting them and their families.

 

Perhaps there is something here about making the work of children's centres more visible in the community and spreading the word about what they are actually up to. I'm going to a training next week about how the Children's Centre agenda affects my work and I'll be going along with an open mind to find out what they're up to in my community!

 

Maz

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We have one opened up opposite our setting (non childcare). I have been over to see them 5 or 6 times at different times and days and haven't managed to find anyone to speak to. I only want them to put up a poster and have our leaflets for parents dropping in. I know they aren't open all the time, but surely there should be someone there at some point?! :o

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  • 2 weeks later...

I work in a Children's Centre in an area that sounds very similar to the on Sadiesmith is talking about and i feel the need to defend an inititive that i am very passionate about. it may well be that no parents and children were in the centre when you visited on a friday afternoon however the fact that these services are on the door step for families as and when they need them is wonderful.. we are all aware that bringing up children is not easy and every one faulters at some point and if the suport is there in there communit chances are they will use it. and please remember this is still a new inititive and will take time to show the results and for their profiles to be raised in the community and among parents.

 

I'd suggest visiting when sessions are running they can be very busy places!

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I also work in a Children's Centre and of course before I got this job I had not real idea what they were about! Now that I do, I strongly suggest that all settings go and visit their local CC to see what is happening as there is a lot of good things going on. It's not just about childcare-it's about the community and its needs. Centres therefore provide courses for parents, help to adults to get back to work, teenage mums, fathers groups, basic skills groups, drop in children's groups, antenatal groups, clinics and basically anything else you can think of! :o

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  • 2 weeks later...

What are we to make of the fact that Children's Centres are now to be made statutory provision (and can someone tell me what that means please?!) and that they will now be subjected to full inspections?

 

Here's a brief article about it.

 

What sort of inspections have they been having up until now then? :o

 

Maz

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We (PVI) have been told by our county team that we are all part of a children's centre as we are so rural. All the PVI providers form one children's centre! I REALLY have problems with this, I mean, no-one asked us if we want to, and we don't get any benefits from it at all, as far as i can see, it seems to be a 'backdoor' way for the county to say they have strong and active children's centre. I really don't understand this at all and at a meeting where it was kinda thrown at us all, we all seemed to be equally dumbfounded, but came away later thinking 'hang on a minute........'

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What sort of inspections have they been having up until now then? :o

 

Maz

 

The Surestart CC I am involved with has one inspection for all it's services for the under threes, babies etc. by the Early Years arm of OFSTED, and the maintained nursery within the centre is inspected by the Education arm of OFSTED, which is the part of OFSTED that inspects schools. These two inspections don't necessarily coincide, and are not the same. The article that you have referenced suggests that there will be one inspection of all the facilities, which makes much more sense in an integrated centre. I don't know how that will work, but at least we can be sure of having EY's people doing these inspections who, hopefully, understand all aspects of the EYFS.

I'm not sure how the extended schools are inspected at the moment, if at all. Also presumably there will be different arrangements for those Children's Centres which take children from babies, or nursery to the end of Key Stage Two.

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The article that you have referenced suggests that there will be one inspection of all the facilities, which makes much more sense in an integrated centre. I don't know how that will work, but at least we can be sure of having EY's people doing these inspections who, hopefully, understand all aspects of the EYFS.

So I wonder whether one team will be inspecting against the EYFS for both the under and over threes, or whether they'll stick with the existing arrangements but just bring them together under one inspection? I'm afraid I have visions of two teams turning up with their clipboards and swamping the Children's Centre for a couple of days. xD

 

Thanks for the explanation Jacquie - it always helps to get the word from an expert! :o

 

Maz

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