Today, Tuesday 4 June, the Institute for Fiscal Studies published a press notice on the benefits of Sure Start centres. Their research said that Sure Start significantly reduce hospitalisations among children by the time they finish primary school and especially benefits children living in disadvantaged areas. This has been covered by BBC Online, the Guardian, the Independent, the Times and the Mirror.
This year, we are putting around £3.5 billion into early education entitlements – more than any previous government.
In April we announced that the Early Intervention Foundation would look at children’s centres and other delivery models to find out what works well. Children’s centres can play an important role in supporting families but it is right that local councils decide how to organise and provide services for families in their areas, as they are best placed to understand local needs.
Our long-term plan for the NHS, backed by £33.9 billion in cash terms by 2023/24, also puts tackling health inequalities at its heart.
A Government spokesperson said:
Children’s centres can play an important role in supporting families, and local councils decide how to organise and provide services for families in their areas to meet local needs – whether this is through children’s centre buildings or delivering services in different ways, and we continuously reflect on what works best.
We want every child to have the best start in life, which is why our Healthy Child Programme means children and families receive five mandatory Health Visitor checks before they are two and a half.
Our NHS Long Term Plan puts tackling health inequalities at its heart, and more than 700,000 of the most disadvantaged two-year-olds have benefited from 15 hours free childcare since its introduction in 2013 – with 95% of early years providers rated good or outstanding by Ofsted.