Sure Start centre closures – why they are important

The number of Sure Start children’s centres closing has increased every year since 2010 with 156 shutting in 2015, almost double the number recorded the previous year. Since 2010 the figure has gone up each year. A leading team of experts based at the University of Oxford Department of Education conducted a five year study on the impact of children’s centres. They found positive effects especially for the most disadvantaged children which the BMJ has also reported on. Their research showed the importance of early intervention and support for young children.

Comment from Pam Sammons, report author and Professor of Education, University of Oxford:

“Our Impact study shows that Children’s Centres can make a difference and support better outcomes especially for the most disadvantaged families. Taken together with the earlier National Evaluation of Sure Start they conform that targetting extra services towards families living in the most disadvantaged neighbourhood can help to promote better outcomes. It is important to recognise and build on these findings to ensure that such benefits are not lost.”


BMJ – ‘Disadvantaged families are at greatest risk from austerity cuts to children’s centres.’

‘The impact of children’s centres: studying the effects of children’s centres in promoting better outcomes for young children and their families’ – Evaluation of Children’s Centres in England (ECCE, Strand 4)- Dfe research brief, December 2015. By Pam Sammons, James Hall, Rebecca Smees, and Jenny Goff with Kathy Sylva, Teresa Smith, Maria Evangelou, Naomi Eisenstadt, and George Smith University of Oxford.

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