Department of Education

Research projects

Stop Start: A review of Children’s Centres in England

The aim of the study was to compare the number of children’s centres operating in England in 2017 with the government’s  previous list from  2010.

A survey was emailed to the official in each authority responsible for children’s centres. It consisted of: closed-ended questions, rating scales, open-ended questions about closures and services currently on offer  (including age range of children, opening hours, budgets). 142 authorities replied (82%) and case studies  were conducted in six  authorities to document strategies employed  to maximise services in face of severe cuts.

Approximately 1/3 of centres had closed, although those in the most disadvantaged neighbourhoods were more likely to remain open. Many changes to provison were found with some widening the age range and others ceasing open access services in favour of services targeted at ‘high need’ families.

In summer 2018  the Oxford MP Layla Moran engaged in heated Parliamentary debate with the Minister for Children and Families, Nadhim Zahawi, citing the Oxford report.

External project members included George and Teresa Smith, Oxford Department of Social Policy and Intervention.

Funder: Sutton Trust
Start date: June 2017
End date: May 2018
Blog: www.suttontrust.com/research-paper/sure-start-childrens-centres-england/

Final Report: www.suttontrust.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/StopStart-FINAL.pdf

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