Commenting on the figures revealed today by Labour, obtained through Parliamentary questions, showing the number of Sure Start centres which are closing, Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:
“It is wrong for the Government to be cutting funding to Sure Start Children’s Centres which is causing the closure of so many and the scaling down of services in many others.
“The reduction of the Early Intervention Grant (EIG) by £150 million to fund the new offer for 2 year olds means that despite the Department for Education website claiming that the Government has ensured there is sufficient money in the EIG to retain the network of Sure Start Children’s Centres, this is clearly not the case. Areas with high levels of deprivation have lost as much as a third of their funding for Sure Start Centres and other work with vulnerable children.
“Children’s Centres provide essential early years education and services for some of the most vulnerable families and should be expanded, not cut. They should be one stop shops at the heart of the community.
“Attracting the most vulnerable families and ensuring that their outcomes are improved will not be achieved if they are simply signposted to ‘somewhere else’. For many such families a Children’s Centre needs to be a welcoming place and not just an information centre. The Government should fund Children’s Centres appropriately in order to provide this vitally important service”.
For further details contact Caroline Cowie on 0207 380 4706 or 07879480061