Sure Start ‘failing to deliver’ on it’s promises

The government’s Sure Start scheme has hit the headlines again. The latest edition of “Children and Young People Now” included an article entitled “Government urged to scrap Sure Start and save Millions” read it here.

Here is an extract from the Institute of Director’s and The Tax Payer’s Alliance report which the article refers to (see page 25):

“The intent is admirable. But despite the massive costs of this approach, Sure Start is failing to deliver on its promises: • Sure Start schemes have not appeared to be helping disadvantaged children do better in school and society. Consistently poor SATs results reveal a distressing lack of change: two out of five of this year’s 11 year olds (a cohort who would have had at least some access to Sure Start schemes from age two) will go to secondary school this September without having reached a sufficient level of competency in all three core subjects.  Illiteracy and innumeracy remain a stubborn feature of Sure Start area primary schools (those with a high percentage of children on free school meals): in 2003 the percentage of pupils on free school meals achieving the expected Level 2 (or above) at Key Stage 1 was 69 per cent; in 2008, that figure had not changed, remaining at 69 per cent.58”

Is this another example of a early years hyped-up government scheme gone wrong? A well-intended government intervention which is failing to drive up standards and help disadvantaged families? 

To read the sixty-six page report published jointly by the Institute of Directors and the Tax Payers Alliance click here.


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