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Do any of your schools have a Children's Centre ?

(27 Posts)
maidamess Wed 16-Jul-08 17:20:49

Our school is in the arly stages of building one.
Do you use one? If so, what for? Does it work?

Celia2 Wed 16-Jul-08 17:39:42

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

llareggub Wed 16-Jul-08 17:48:20

We have one around the corner, according to Ds's childminder. It is only open 2 hours a week until "the community can decide what to do with it." Well, am member of local community and no one told me it was there until our childminder did. How on earth will we decide what to do there if it isn't open ever?

Chaotica Wed 16-Jul-08 17:53:25

Our local nursery school has one and we go for playgroups/babygroups etc - facilities are great.

southeastastra Wed 16-Jul-08 17:55:28

visited some but son is too old for me to benefit from them. rumours that they're a bit of a white elephant

ReallyTired Wed 16-Jul-08 18:54:18

Our school has one. It doesn't make much difference to me as I work and can't attend any of the events.

Basically wealthy middle class SAHMs come and enjoy heavily susidised baby massage classes. I don't think that the families the centre is aimed get much out of it.

misdee Wed 16-Jul-08 18:57:48

not the school, but the nursery dd3 will be going to is now a childrens centre.

mrz Wed 16-Jul-08 19:37:43

www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2006/dec/19/children.earlyyearseducation
www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1580792/Sure-Start-plan-'failing-to-meet-targets'.html

filthymindedvixen Wed 16-Jul-08 19:41:14

3 local schools have them/are getting one imminently now - I visited one today and it is awesome! The most beautiful playroom packed full of fabulous wood toys and equipment, and outdoor area, kitchen, quiet room, buggy park, meeting rooms, office, IT suite...Man, the funding which has been thrown at it...!

The idea is for them to be a 'one-stop shop' for local families.

Smithagain Wed 16-Jul-08 19:46:55

We have one. Loads of stuff going on there - toddler play sessions, weekend sessions for dads and kids, free child development courses, HV drop-in session. It's also attached to a day nursery and the foundation stage unit of the school.

Beautifully kitted out with Ikea-esque wooden furniture and play equipment. Nursery has got an outstanding Ofsted report.

And it's in a good location, in terms of being within easy walking distance of two large housing estates and seems to get loads of use from families who weren't well catered for before.

fizzbuzz Wed 16-Jul-08 20:26:18

No didn't even know they exist.........How come some people have them and others don't?

What are they for?

LackaDAISYcal Wed 16-Jul-08 20:35:38

We have one that has just opened. so far there is a stay and play on a couple of times a week, a playgroup for SN kids twice a week, childminders play sessions twice a week, as well as some council surgeries for benefits queries etc. From September they are going to be doing baby yoga and baby massage and stuff like that.

From speaking to them, apparently they were rolled out forst in the more socially deprived areas, and are now working their way out towards the less deprived areas. Our school is in a good area, but the catchment includes one or two more deprived estates since they shut the local school there, hence we got ours now!

It's great and looks like it can only get better as they roll out more activities. I'm going to speak to them about a BFing support group as well.

mrz, as far as I understand from the centre manager, this isn't part of the sure start scheme.

Woollymummy Wed 16-Jul-08 20:56:30

we go to one in a nearby town for messy play, it's a brand new centre, full of fun toys, lots of space: my DD feels very at home there already. Takes me 45 mins to get there with a bus and a bit of a walk, but worth it as there is nothing in our large but very under-resourced village. The rumour we will get our own local children's centre may or may not be true, but I think I will still venture out to other ones as we get a more social mix by not always being in the same village clique. Very interesting to know exactly how much cash has been ijected into this scheme, and why there seems to be not so much cash available for good publicity, I guess they think the word-of-mouth via health visitors will cover most people. I wonder if the cash will keep flowing once they are all uilt, or will they start having to have fetes to allow them to buy paint, loo rolls etc.....

IndigoMoon Wed 16-Jul-08 21:07:01

there is one local to me. i have not used it but my friends twins go there for a nursery session as part of their speech therapy. the playgroup is supposed to be great ubt it runs on a day that i work

maidamess Wed 16-Jul-08 22:32:19

Thanks for your replies. Sounds like it depends what area you are in as to what services are available?

mrz Thu 17-Jul-08 16:33:11

fizzbuzz Children's Centres were targeted for disadvantaged areas first so if you live in a particularly affluent area or a village you may not have one. The vision is that everyone will have access to one by 2010.

mrz Thu 17-Jul-08 16:35:25

Woollymummy £3billion

mrz Thu 17-Jul-08 16:38:08

LackaDAISYcal Children's Centres are funded by Sure Start so not sure where the centre manager has got their facts from because centre managers are employed by Sure Start
www.standards.dfes.gov.uk/primary/faqs/foundation_stage/1162267/

RusselBrussel Thu 17-Jul-08 16:38:32

A questionnaire was sent round our local school, telling us one was to be opened at a neighbouring school, and asking us what sort of things we would like to see/do there.

My dc are too old, but in principle they sound like a great idea.

LackaDAISYcal Thu 17-Jul-08 17:02:22

she definately said they were a separate organisation from sure start....but having just checked, they are listed on the sure start website....weird hmm. Obviously a communication breakdown somewhere in that conversation smile

fizzbuzz Thu 17-Jul-08 17:17:38

Thank you mrs...where I live is in Phase 3 so by 2010.

<..Goes off to contemplate huge wealth of house and finds it sadly lacking..grin>

elkiedee Thu 17-Jul-08 17:26:11

Children's centres aren't t he same as SureStart but a lot of Surestart centres are now becoming children's centres as they're providing the same services.

I used a few to go to baby groups when I was on maternity leave, and they now offer antenatal appointments at one local to me. Some also have nurseries with both places allocated by need and fee paying places but unfortunately allocated by proximity to school (as the nearest one with a baby room is too far from me).

They also offer childminder training and dropins etc which I think is good as I like the idea that my CM has her own support network and social stuff to take DS to.

At groups backgrounds were quite varied but there were more working class mums at the centre on a big council estate. What I noticed was that there were a lot of mums from other countries originally, I guess they're less likely to have lots of close family nearby, and perhaps if you're adventurous enough to move country you're more likely to go out and find things to do.

mrz Thu 17-Jul-08 17:45:22

The very first ones were known as Sure Start Centres but once the programme took off the name was changed to Children's Centres but they are still "controlled" by Sure Start.

LeavesdenCC Wed 24-Sep-08 16:52:37

(excuse my typos) To clarify the OLD surestart centres are no more (they were a 4 year trial and received MEGA funding!) - we are ALL surestart Childrens centres and we have moved from being support for a few to universal services, for ALL families with chidlren under the age of 5 years. The issue gets confused because charities and agencies can apply to manage centre but the money still comes from the government's surestart grant.

I actually run a centre based on a Infanct & junior school site - we are open all day every day except for a week between Xmas/ NYE. I am employed by a coucnil. We are funded by SureStart but our servcies HAVE to be developed with local families and partners, so we all look very very different.

The more deprived areas receive more funding, therefore centres like ours have often more staff and actvities running.

Ay other questions try teh surestart website on: http://www.surestart.gov.uk/surestartservices/settings/surestartchildrenscentres/

mrsshackleton Wed 24-Sep-08 20:30:12

is buildibng a children's centre necessarily good for the school? They're aboout to build a massive one at the school I want to send dd1 to but I'm not sure I want pregnant women, playgroupers etc traipsing around my dcs' school - no offence to pregnant women etc but a school imo should be for children.
Or will it provide benefits for the school I can't see? Genuinely interested

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