The core purpose of Sure Start Children’s Centres is to improve outcomes for young children and their families, with a particular focus on the most disadvantaged, so children are equipped for life and ready for school, no matter what their background or family circumstances.
Evidence shows that development during the early years of a child’s life lays an essential foundation for progress throughout life. Parenting and the home learning environment, health and economic wellbeing all have an impact on child development.
The Department has worked in collaboration with local authorities and representatives from the early years sector to develop the core purpose, and to describe what some of the best children’s centres can do to achieve it.
The Department consulted on the core purpose over the summer and the consultation closed at the end of August 2011. We received 546 contributions from a wide audience that included children’s centre leaders, local authorities, health professionals, parents and the voluntary and community sector. The response was overwhelmingly positive, with 91 per cent of respondents agreeing that children’s centres should help to improve outcomes for young children and their families, with a particular focus on the most disadvantaged. You can download a summary of the responses in the associated resources section of this page.
The summary sets out next steps, including reflecting the core purpose in the revised statutory guidance for children's centres. We will be consulting on this in the new year. There is a continuing open forum on how centres can achieve the core purpose on the Foundation Years website.
The Government has set out its vision for the services that should be on offer for parents, children and families in the foundation years. Supporting Families in the Foundation Years describes the system needed to make the Government's vision a reality and explains the role of commissioners, leaders and practitioners across the range of services for families in these years.
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Summary of the responses to the consultation on the core purpose of children's centres.
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