Sure Start, its origins, national evaluation and current status

5th February 2019 : 17:00 - 18:30

Category: Seminar

Speaker: Professor Jacqueline Barnes (Department of Psychological Sciences, Birkbeck, University of London)

Location: Seminar Room K/L, Bruner Building C, Department of Education

Convener: Alex Hodgkiss

A part of the Child Development and Learning (CDL) seminar series.

Sure Start Local Programmes (SSLPs) was one of the flagship policies of the 1997 UK Labour government, committed to reducing inequalities and the impact of disadvantage on children. The programmes were in the 20% most deprived communities and area-based (i.e. services open to all residents of defined areas). Local control was a key principle, with money going directly from central government to local multi-agency partnership boards, by-passing local authorities.  However, in 2005 and during (some indicate a result of) the on-going national evaluation, the policy changed to Sure Start Children’s Centres (CCs), not area based, managed by local authorities, and available as a mainstream service in all areas, but with less generous funding, not ring-fenced. Thus Sure Start is a somewhat elusive concept, illustrated by the following research.  Issues regarding the research will be highlighted and details of the National Evaluation of Sure Start will be presented, including impact on neighbourhoods, parents and children up to the age of seven.  Finally, the current start of the Sure Start programme will be noted, with an example of its continuing legacy.

About the Department of Education

In 2019, the University of Oxford’s Department of Education celebrates the 100th year since the passing of a statute creating what was known in 1919 as the University Department for the Training of Teachers. To celebrate our centenary a year-long series of activities will be delivered to address some of the department’s top initiatives for 2019, answer some of the big questions facing education today and to reveal the advancements the department has made to the study of and research in the field of education. Join us as we mark our 100th year and discover more about our anniversary here.

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