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katehart
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My understanding is that Children's Centres are now statutory in law, so they cant disband them, however they could rebrand them and slim down the funding. The whole of early years will probably suffer under conservatives, when you think that everything that is in place now is because Labour put it there.

 

My children were very small under the Conservative government and all that was available was vouchers for 4 year olds, one of my sons turned 4 in the August so never benefited, also there were no tax credits, so lots of people with children couldnt afford to work because of childcare costs.

 

I am hoping that they leave the EYFS alone and give it time to embed, however I feel major changes are ahead.

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Now we have a new PM, what do you think the future will be for the Surestart children' centre?

 

Love to hear from you all

 

Kate

 

yes! you beat me to this! have you seen the new dcsf website- they have already changed it and there is a disclaimer on the old one. I don;t know what happens now but i think the era of throwing money at families is at an end now. Cut back are here to stay and Childrens centres have been a big excersise in waste. but that's just my opinion.

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yes! you beat me to this! have you seen the new dcsf website- they have already changed it and there is a disclaimer on the old one. I don;t know what happens now but i think the era of throwing money at families is at an end now. Cut back are here to stay and Childrens centres have been a big excersise in waste. but that's just my opinion.

 

 

I'm in agreement with you to some extent. The ones I've worked in have had thousands to spend on equipment that we in our church hall could only dream of, and while its lovely its not really helping families is it?

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I'm in agreement with you to some extent. The ones I've worked in have had thousands to spend on equipment that we in our church hall could only dream of, and while its lovely its not really helping families is it?

 

me, too!

 

One CC locally bought fabulous new storage cupboards, which were much needed but then they bought new tables and chairs and storage racks so the wood matched :o

 

There was nothing wrong with the "old" ones but they ended up on the carpark. As we childminders have no shame when it comes to asking for a freebie, we asked the caretaker about them and he said they were waiting for a skip!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

He then helped my friend load into her car 2 small tables, 6 childsize chairs, a storage unit/cupboard!! By the time she'd been home and unloaded he'd dug out the filing trays that made the drawers for the unit which he'd put in his school shed as it was a waste to throw them away xD It was hundreds of pounds worth of equipment :(

 

Absolutely everything else they've bought is from the Community Playthings catalogue and much of it never gets used! They've also recently bought a family pass for the local zoo, which can be borrowed, to try to entice the "hard to engage" families - so far it's been used by staff and volunteers :(

 

Nona

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I have always struggled with the role of CC's and who really accesses them. There has been a recent post on here about a child centre equipping a room for the moving in preschool with leather sofas totally without their wishes being considered. My daughter and grand daughter attend a child centre and are just amazed at what is offered. But and it is a big but the local (and in my opinion more needy families) never attend and all the welfare services on offer never reach their target. We all have heard of these beautifully equipped centres being empty most of the time and I would very much like to know the cost per head for each child who does attend.

 

(Many apologies to the centres who are functioning as orginally intended.)

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My worry would be if the Government decide to continue funding CC as they have been doing but that the cuts come elsewhere like the amount that training get subsidised or that the Free Entitlement money will get stretched any further.

 

I must admit to liking the idea of investing in more Health Visitors to work with families, I am assuming this would take the place of "Community Involvement" workers and in my mine, anyway, would be of benefit our families needing support. Much better value for money than a day out at the zoo for Community Invovlement Worker and the family!!!

 

BMG

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The loal suretsart near me rent rooms from the nursery wich is private. They have a staff team of family workers, health visito and speech therapist and they go out into the community offering help or just being visible.

A CC I worked in last year threw away all the aprons (they'd only been open 4 months then) to buy ones the teacher prefered. I got them all out the bin and gave them to playgroup whose aprons had been in use when my oldest was there 13 years ago!

Theres good and bad everywhere I suppose but I should hope the Government look closely at the spending and then make cuts.

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My worry would be if the Government decide to continue funding CC as they have been doing but that the cuts come elsewhere like the amount that training get subsidised or that the Free Entitlement money will get stretched any further.

BMG

 

Locally there are 3 beautifully equipped CC's (one is split over 2 sites) that still struggle with the "hard to reach" families and are empty several times a week, yet the LA has had their training budget cut back so far that it works out at £12 per head for the EYFS practitioners :o It won't even cover the cost of a First Aid course xD

 

Nona

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And I guess that voluntary charity run settings are the very model of what David Cameron was talking about when he mentioned parents 'running' their own schools. Not that I agree with anything the tories say usually but an interesting debate to follow. And not that I think it is a particularly workable model, even though I'm chair and staying on another year. :o

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Michael Gove the new minister for education has now set out his stall, I think the DCSF is no more and has been rebranded already, I really hope that early years remains a priority, guess we will just have to wait and see.

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Having recently visited pretty much every one of our CCs I have to say that I think they are doing a good job - integrating health services (run by a completely different set of drivers than education), social services (JCP etc etc) and education/childcare is no mean feat. Heads of centres may be trying to create their own coalition of Private provider in the nursery, LA funded CCQT and PLA creche - all of which will be inspected under the new Ofsted framework.

 

Seeing the actual work they are doing with some very vulnerable families has been fantastic!

 

Cx

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Well, its disappointing to see the comments here about children's centres being a waste of money. I can assure you that they are not all like that and it makes me sad to think that we are all being viewed equally. I know of several groups in the PVI/chartiable sector running pre schools who have had significant amounts of money given to them for equipment which they do not want but they weren't able to use the money in other ways e.g. staffiing, rent, training etc. I think it really depends on where you work and what your local authorities priorities are and what funding has been ring fenced/ear marked for certain things.

 

I think there will be serious cutbacks for all - I think funding for training has already been cut back some time ago and is now very limited and affects NVQ's and foundation degrees etc.

 

I think it will be interesting to see what will happen. Funding for all types of settings will be an issue although it has been for some time.

 

As for outreach. Families who are not accessing services are not doing so for a wide complex of reasons and there are no quick remedies. I just wish we had a magic wand but we don't and it makes me very sad to see some children entering school who have had no experience of preschool, who come with a range of mixed social and physical issues and who will struggle. These children often do not access any services at all including health - so often its difficult to know where and who they are. And believe it or not there are lots of people in 2010 who do not appear on anyone's radar. Hard to believe I know.

 

Centres reach areas might have to meet from anything from 600 to over 1000+ families, health visitors in some areas have case loads of upwards of 700 plus. Of course it would be great to have more health visitors but they are just not around at the moment so maybe some funding will be switched to revert back to fast tracking and training of HV's in a similar way to that of Soclal Workers. However, whilst I agree that HV's are probably one of the most important people in helping families, they are just not out there with many retiring and others moving away from the service just like social workers because of high case loads. So unfortunatley I think this will take some time to sort out.

 

CC's are headed up by advisory boards and therefore they are not at liberty to make all their own decisions without the parents and other interested parties from the local community agreeing to what services are run or how the money is invested. However, having said that there are Government targets to be met and these have to be taken into consideration.

 

Let's all stick together - we all offer different services but the overriding aim for all of us is to help families and children meet their potential in life and unfortunately some will not if we don't keep on trying to reach them. We are all passionate about what we do for our very little ones and their families, we all have tough jobs to do but we are living in difficult times and reducing services to families is not the answer.

 

So I hope that the new Gov. will not rush into making rash decisions but with all CC funding streams only decided upon to 2011 we are all living in uncertain times. However, they cannot afford to sit back too long without making any decisions and my worry is that they might not make an informed overview of the current situation. I think they want to make their mark quickly. I think the DCSF name change to DOE was implemented within hours of them being elected ..... so I think they will move quickly - possibly too quickly.....

 

Off my soap box now ............. perhaps its the fact that my hob, my washing machine and my car have all died this week and I am fed up!!!!

 

NIkki

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well, I'm afraid I have to agree with some of the worries about cc's.......our local one refurbished all their rooms, all with Community Playthings stuff..........( they only opened four years ago, so all their equipment was virtually brand new anyway!!), so, all brand new again, and a big wicker hideaway they bought TWO months ago, is still sittingng outside their front door, still in the packing it arived in, as they now have nowhere to put it, dur to the garden being so full of other, expensive new equipment.A huge sailing boat they bought has been chucked outside into an open public area, where it is guaranteed to be vandalised in very short time.Why the big spend?? well.............because it was coming up to the end of the finacial year and if they had money left over, it would have meant this years budget was cut. They have spent thousands on new cupboards and other stuff, to the extent that when i was in visiting recently, they had even blocked the fire exits with boxes and boxes of things they couldn't open as they had nowhere to put it.All for a centre that is barely used.Crazy, just plain crazy

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Well, its disappointing to see the comments here about children's centres being a waste of money. I can assure you that they are not all like that and it makes me sad to think that we are all being viewed equally. I know of several groups in the PVI/chartiable sector running pre schools who have had significant amounts of money given to them for equipment which they do not want but they weren't able to use the money in other ways e.g. staffiing, rent, training etc. I think it really depends on where you work and what your local authorities priorities are and what funding has been ring fenced/ear marked for certain things.

 

I think there will be serious cutbacks for all - I think funding for training has already been cut back some time ago and is now very limited and affects NVQ's and foundation degrees etc.

 

I think it will be interesting to see what will happen. Funding for all types of settings will be an issue although it has been for some time.

 

As for outreach. Families who are not accessing services are not doing so for a wide complex of reasons and there are no quick remedies. I just wish we had a magic wand but we don't and it makes me very sad to see some children entering school who have had no experience of preschool, who come with a range of mixed social and physical issues and who will struggle. These children often do not access any services at all including health - so often its difficult to know where and who they are. And believe it or not there are lots of people in 2010 who do not appear on anyone's radar. Hard to believe I know.

 

Centres reach areas might have to meet from anything from 600 to over 1000+ families, health visitors in some areas have case loads of upwards of 700 plus. Of course it would be great to have more health visitors but they are just not around at the moment so maybe some funding will be switched to revert back to fast tracking and training of HV's in a similar way to that of Soclal Workers. However, whilst I agree that HV's are probably one of the most important people in helping families, they are just not out there with many retiring and others moving away from the service just like social workers because of high case loads. So unfortunatley I think this will take some time to sort out.

 

CC's are headed up by advisory boards and therefore they are not at liberty to make all their own decisions without the parents and other interested parties from the local community agreeing to what services are run or how the money is invested. However, having said that there are Government targets to be met and these have to be taken into consideration.

 

Let's all stick together - we all offer different services but the overriding aim for all of us is to help families and children meet their potential in life and unfortunately some will not if we don't keep on trying to reach them. We are all passionate about what we do for our very little ones and their families, we all have tough jobs to do but we are living in difficult times and reducing services to families is not the answer.

 

So I hope that the new Gov. will not rush into making rash decisions but with all CC funding streams only decided upon to 2011 we are all living in uncertain times. However, they cannot afford to sit back too long without making any decisions and my worry is that they might not make an informed overview of the current situation. I think they want to make their mark quickly. I think the DCSF name change to DOE was implemented within hours of them being elected ..... so I think they will move quickly - possibly too quickly.....

 

Off my soap box now ............. perhaps its the fact that my hob, my washing machine and my car have all died this week and I am fed up!!!!

 

NIkki

 

Hi Nicki

 

I work in the children centre and we are alway really busy. I love my job vey much and we are starting to reach the hard of reach families and they are contiuing to come every week. We are only about a year old and the response that has come from the familes about our children centre is amazing. We have had some fantastic comments and we work very hard to deliver what the familes need and more. We work very closely with all the other professionals and our familes have a lot of the services under one roof.

 

I am with you all the way Nicki

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One of the (many!) things I love about this forum is that collectively we give a balanced view on a topic of discussion.

 

This thread has really made me think and I guess that perhaps we are all guilty of forming opinions based on what we see and sometimes overlook the 'bigger picture'

 

With regard to Children's Centres I guess there are the good and not so good just the same as there is with other early years settings.

 

Sadly, in my area the wonderful physical building of the children's centre is something I would give my eye teeth for to run as a preschool - the purpose designed building, the stunning physical environment within and the resources that I can only dream of. I admit I don't go there very often but when I do it's is almost empty. The lovely 'buggy park' still gleams with 'newness' etc etc

 

So to all of you working in Children's centres where the picture is more positive I am sorry if I had 'tarred you all with the same brush' It has been a learning curve for me and I endeavour not to hold such a narrow view of Children's centres generally from now on:(

 

Whatever the setting and whatever our role within it I truly believe we are all passionate about early years and by each of us doing our best with what we have got then we can continue to make things better for all the 'little darlings' out there :o

Edited by Geraldine
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The outside of the 2 childrens centers in my area are crammed full of physical equipment. It reminds me of an indoor play center like Jungle Gyms. There isn't anything natural about it except the bark under the equipment. I much prefer my unevan grassed area where children can roll,play old fashioned play ground games ride bikes, collect bugs and other interesting thing and generally dig and delve in dirt, make dens and climb trees. Yes we do have to packaway each day inside and outdoors. We DO have physical equipment and always provide for it but often find its not used much.

I have been pruning my bay tree so i will just leave them with the pine cones, stones, leaves, toy cars and play people and see what that leads to tomorrow.

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When you read about this waste of public resources it almost makes cutbacks seem a good thing. The downside is that cutbacks are always across the board and could affect the day to day running of PVI settings who already budget so carefully.

Just a quick question and I may be being naive but what was wrong with the old health visitor system which did access every single family and offer support and access to services. I so relied on my health visitor who I got to know very well, who helped me through breast feeding and monitored my children until they went to school. At least this system reached all rather than empty childrens centres in some areas.

Again I really do not wish to offend anyone but I just cannot bear to read about this squandering of public money when there are real needs to be met.

Edited by Chill
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The outside of the 2 childrens centers in my area are crammed full of physical equipment. It reminds me of an indoor play center like Jungle Gyms. There isn't anything natural about it except the bark under the equipment. I much prefer my unevan grassed area where children can roll,play old fashioned play ground games ride bikes, collect bugs and other interesting thing and generally dig and delve in dirt, make dens and climb trees. Yes we do have to packaway each day inside and outdoors. We DO have physical equipment and always provide for it but often find its not used much.

I have been pruning my bay tree so i will just leave them with the pine cones, stones, leaves, toy cars and play people and see what that leads to tomorrow.

 

 

Hi

 

 

Just thought I might share this with you, in our children centre where I work, we have used guttering for water and ball runs along the walls, made by our caretaker. We have contacted out local farm to see if they have any spare tractor unwanted tyres, I asked my local milkman for milk crates for the garden. we have asked a neighbour if we could have his logs from a tree he was cutting down in his garden. We plan for the children to take more risks and to give them more freedom to explore play for themselves. Also we have many other natural ideas which we will introduce to the garden gradually. Very exciting

 

 

When we first open we were given quite a good badget to set up the children centre, but now our centre budgets have been cut too and so it should be.

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When you read about this waste of public resources it almost makes cutbacks seem a good thing. The downside is that cutbacks are always across the board and could affect the day to day running of PVI settings who already budget so carefully.

Just a quick question and I may be being naive but what was wrong with the old health visitor system which did access every single family and offer support and access to services. I so relied on my health visitor who I got to know very well, who helped me through breast feeding and monitored my children until they went to school. At least this system reached all rather than empty childrens centres in some areas.

Again I really do not wish to offend anyone but I just cannot bear to read about this squandering of public money when there are real needs to be met.

 

 

Hi Chill

 

not everyone is as lucky, some people i meet have only seen their H/V once. Some area where I work don't even know their H/V. However i know there are some fantastic H/V too and in my children centre we get on with our H/V very very well. As a FSOW, because of their heavy work load they rely on has for support.

 

My own H/V was very good too, but it was only because I went out to them and if I found it hard to go out I may have slip the net.

Edited by katehart
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Hi Chill

 

Hope you don't mind me replying to your reply, but not everyone is as lucky, some people i meet have only seen their H/V once. Some area where I work don't even know their H/V. However i know there are some fantastic H/V too and in my children centre we get on with our H/V very very well. As a FSOW, because of their heavy work load they rely on has for support.

 

My own H/V was very good too, but it was only because I went out to them and if I found it hard to go out I may have slip the net.

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Michael Gove the new minister for education has now set out his stall, I think the DCSF is no more and has been rebranded already, I really hope that early years remains a priority, guess we will just have to wait and see.

 

Yes we are back to the Department for Education

 

When you try to access any of the DCSF sites you get an important message flash up

 

A new UK Government took office on 11 May. As a result the content on this site may not reflect current Government policy. All statutory guidance and legislation published on this site continues to reflect the current legal position unless indicated otherwise. To view the new Department for Education website, please go to http://www.education.gov.uk

 

the new education bill will be unveiled in the Queen's speech on the 25th

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Thats good for your children katehart.Good natural things that cost nothing and benefit the children so much.Its unfortunate they they forgot to leave a space for these things in the childrens centers near me. A bit worrying also as the person who planned one of them is an EYDO. I was also offered money in the first round of the capital funding to make my outdoor area like a play gym but I am so glad I didn't take it up. One of the options in the next round is the enhance natural resouces, very interesting.

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Yes we are back to the Department for Education

 

When you try to access any of the DCSF sites you get an important message flash up

 

Oh well what goes around comes around.... They put all that up quickly didn't they. I find it a bit creepy to be honest.

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Hope I haven't ruffled anyone's feathers....?

 

My view is that the CC's locally have wasted a lot of money on unecessary refurbishment but aren't a waste of money to those wha access them!!

 

I've had some great support from them, accessed training (am in the middle of a 6 week "Fun Outdoors" course which has been great fun and really inspiring, full of low cost ideas using natural materials) and have signposted families in need to the CC and introduced Family Support staff from the CC to the staff at the primary school to support a family.

 

Parents who have registered at the CC after I've accessed services with their children have , in the main, been really appreciative.

 

There's definitely a role for them and, as has been said, we all need to work together to identify and reach those families that so need the support but are unwilling to seek it out.

 

Nona

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