Barbara has welcomed a new report by researchers at the University of London which shows that the Government’s Sure Start programme is working to reduce inequality.
Sure Start was launched in 1999 to support parents in more deprived communities and help overcome the disadvantages their babies experience in the Early Years. Sure Start brings together childcare, early education, health and family support services for families with children under 5 years old.
Researchers compared 6,000 three-year-olds on Sure Start local programmes across the UK with 2,000 children of the same age and similar background who were not getting help. They found that in five key areas the Sure Start children were doing better than the others.
Children attending Sure Start centres were found to have more positive social behaviour and greater independence. Parents were more likely to read to their children, encourage them to paint or draw and generally encourage learning at home. The families were also more likely to access health, welfare and educational support services.
“I’m delighted that the substantial investment by the Government in Sure Start centres is making a positive difference to the lives of children from disadvantaged backgrounds. We now have independent evidence that it is possible to narrow the gap between children in deprived and more affluent areas by investing in specialist family support services like Sure Start.
“Like the Government, I am committed to ensuring that children from different backgrounds all reach their full potential. I have followed closely the work of Sure Start centres such as the one in Little Hulton which does excellent work with children and parents."