The end of Sure Start?(3 Posts)
I'm interested to see what others think of Sure Start, as its continuation is now in question:
I think Sure start has the potential to make big changes to peoples lives (not just children but parents too) in really simple ways - at a most basic level just getting new parents out of the house and making friends with others, giving them the confidence to try new things, support with breastfeeding, finding out whats available for them where they live (like NCT for people who think NCTs not for them! . I went on a 'parenting skills' course (think supernanny but a bit less bossy!) which was incredible and really helped me with my DD. And the extra funding for family support workers, Health visitors and so on so they can spend more time promoting child health and less time filling in 'at risk' paperwork is good for the morale of those vital professions. For families who are really struggling, I've seen Sure start offer a lifeline.
I'm a bit biased because i used to work in a Sure Start programme and thought it had some great things going for it - and potential to do even more. The problems it faced were to do with being so new and ground breaking - teething problems with how it was managed as the team worked out how best to do things, and also with bureaucracy and performance management requests that were unclear even to those requesting them. But the central ethos, of parent led (ie designed with and for their needs and convenience)services targeted at families with pre school children, accessible to everyone with no stigma attached, but promoted especially to those most in need, is great and I think its how it is actually carried out that needs more time to be analysed. The programmes were all managed so differently, that the evaluation hopefully should focus on the differences between programmes showing a positive impact and those that are not, rather than taking an average of its impact natonally.
Whether you think it works / could work or not I'd genuinely be interested to know cos I'd hate to see it go down the pan through apathy or misinformation - although you should probably direct your comments here!!
link to the select committee webpage call for comments closes this weekend.
If you're interested, have a look at my thread today about a course run at a SureStart centre that I went to today.
Surestart is great! (at least in my area it is) It provides by far the best opportunities and facilities for children and parents in what might be quite a deprived and isolated area (it reaches a good sector of the community around here too).
I will go and comment when I'm not supposed to be working.
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