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Stop Start report by Sutton Trust published


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(From the Sutton Trust website)

Report overview:

Latest research from Prof Kathy Sylva, Prof Pam Sammons and their team at the University of Oxford has used administrative data, a survey of local authorities and a series of case studies to paint a picture of what has happened to children’s centres across England. It shows decline, both in numbers and services, but also adaptation and a struggle to survive.

A key initiative under the last Labour government, Sure Start children’s centres bring together services for young children and their families and act as the gateway to more specialised provision. From 2005 onwards, responsibility for children’s centres was increasingly devolved to local authority level and under the coalition government after 2010, the budget was no longer ring-fenced, but merged with other programmes. By 2013, national guidance on the ‘core purpose’ of children’s centres shifted focus to targeting ‘high need’ families, rather than open access to universal services.

The result has been to move children’s centres away from the original idea of an open access neighbourhood centre. ‘Stop Start’ highlights how services are now much more thinly spread and as national direction has weakened, provision has diversified. Local authorities now employ a variety of strategies to survive in an environment of declining resources and loss of strategic direction.

You can read the full report here

Nursery World has written in response to the report

There are several pieces in The Guardian too, from editorial to comment pieces. 

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