SURE START by nikeborome


									SURE START: the story of an area-
 based initiative for families with
     young children under 4
                 Eva Lloyd

   Senior Lecturer Early Childhood Studies
                19 July 2006
            1. Lecture outline

• Natural history and timeline for
  development of Sure Start, this
  Government’s major family support
• The national Sure Start evaluation.
• The current debate concerning the future of
  Sure Start.
     2. Sure Start: a natural history
• 1998 Inter-Departmental multi-agency area-based
  family support initiative, for some 400,000
  children and their families.
• Universal, i.e. targeted at all under 4s and their
  families in disadvantaged areas, including 1/3 of
  under 4s living in poverty.
• 524 programmes operational in England by 2006
  now known as Sure Start Local Programmes.
  Programmes rolled out in 5 rounds, starting with
• Core services: outreach and home visiting,
  parenting programmes and family learning,
  crèches and drop-ins, benefits advice, family
  health services. Since 2003/4 also early learning
  and daycare provision.
          3. Sure Start: aims
Sure Start is the Government’s programme to
support children, families and communities
through the integration of early education,
childcare, health and family support. Sure Start
local programmes are one element of this, based
in areas of disadvantage, whose aim is to improve
the health and well-being of young children under
4 and their families, so that children have a
greater opportunity to flourish when they start

                     (National Evaluation of Sure
                                   Start, 2004: 1)
      4. Some Sure Start context
By 1998/99 over a third of British children were
living in households with incomes below 50% of
the average…
                               (Gordon et al, 2000: 32)
Having recognised the complex and multi-
dimensional nature of child poverty and social
exclusion, these have been addressed by the
present Administration across a wide front. Key
elements of its anti-poverty strategy focus on
welfare reform and public service changes,
including area-based and universal public
services that contribute to improving poor
children’s life chances and breaking cycles of
deprivation.                        (Lloyd, 2006: 317)
     5. Sure Start: governance and
• At central government level, Department for
  Education and Skills has a Sure Start Unit which
  co-ordinates all childcare and early education
  services, including Sure Start.
• DfES works closely with Department of Health
  and Department for Work and Pensions.
• At local level, parental and community
  involvement were originally considered integral to
  programme development and quality. Sure Start
  multi-agency partnerships.
• 2004 Children Act returns local responsibility and
  accountability to local government Children’s
  Services Departments.
    6. Key characteristics of Sure Start
•   Two generational;
•   Non-stigmatising;
•   Multifaceted;
•   Persistent;
•   Locally driven;
•   Culturally appropriate and sensitive to the needs
    of children and parents.

                                         (Glass, 1999)
          7. Sure Start: timeline
• 1998 – 2002 parallel development of
  neighbourhood nurseries, early excellence centres
  and extended schools, all as part of the 1998
  National Childcare Strategy, alongside Sure Start.
• 2003 Sure Start 10 year capital funding utilised
  for Childcare Strategy’s childcare component: all
  programmes to develop up to 50 full daycare
  places and offer grant-funded early education.
• 2003 original 524 Sure Start programmes to be
  known as ‘local programmes’ and all DfES
  childcare and early education initiatives to be
  renamed Sure Start initiatives.
   8. Sure Start from 2004 onwards
• Sure Start local programmes to be integrated with
  the Children’s Centres initiative announced in
  2003 Children Bill, now 2004 Children Act.
• By 2010 there will be 3500 Children’s centres
  offering an integrated programme of early
  education, childcare, health care provision and
  family support in every community for children up
  to secondary school age.
• All primary schools are encouraged by 2010 to
  offer early education, childcare (both daycare and
  out-of-school care for older children), family
  learning and family support, in their new role as
  ‘extended schools.’ They will open all year round.
    9. The National Evaluation of Sure
        Start (NESS) 2001 - 2007
    Evaluation team based at Birkbeck College,
    University of London and led by Professors
    Edward Melhuish, Jay Belsky and Alastair
    Leyland (statistician).

•   Impact module
•   Implementation module
•   Cost effectiveness module
•   Local context analysis module
•   Support to local programmes on local evaluation
  10. Additional components of the
        Sure Start evaluation
• Case studies of 26 Local Sure Start programmes.
• Thematic evaluations, e.g. father and minority
    ethnic involvement, parenting support, and Sure
    Start local programmes in rural areas.
• Local evaluations.

         11. Challenges to NESS
• SSLPs do not have a prescribed ‘curriculum’ or
  set of services, e.g. delineated in a ‘manualised’
  form, to promote fidelity of treatment to a
  prescribed model.
• SSLPs were advised that services should be
• The great diversity of interventions employed in
  SSLPs poses great challenges to evaluating their
  impact, as each SSLP is unique.

                (Melhuish, Anning and Hall, 2005: i)
 12. The NESS preliminary findings
November 2005 first findings in five early reports:

   – Early impacts of SSLPs on children and
   – Variation in SSLP effectiveness: early
     preliminary findings.
   – Maternity services in SSLPs.
   – Implementing SSLPs: an integrated overview
     of the first four years.
   – The quality of early learning, play and childcare
     services in SSLPs.
    13. The overall NESS findings
  The five early reports from the National
  Evaluation of Sure Start (NESS) show that Sure
  Start is succeeding in making a difference to a
  large number of parents and children, and is
  doing particularly well in affecting parenting
  practices. However, the NESS findings raise two
  important issues: the programme is not reaching
  some of the most disadvantage families; and the
  work in the local programmes is not working as
  well as it should.
  14. Some key contextual findings
• Many SSLP areas suffer from some of the worst
  deprivation in England. Unemployment,
  worklessness and low income more than double
  the national average in both 2000/0 and 2001/2.
• Just under half of all young children in SSLP areas
  in workless households, almost double the
  national average (43% compared to 22%).
• 1/3 of SSLP: minority ethnic population of 20% or
• 20001/02 average birth rate 16 per 1000
  population, compared to 12 per 1000 for England.
• The percentage of births to lone mothers in
  2001/02 was 25% and to teenage mothers 4%.
       15. Parental employability
• Some parents…face a range of complicated
  barriers to work, and require intense and
  sustained support to deal with them.
• SSLPs act mainly as a bridge for parents into the
  education, training and employment services of
  other organisations which specialise in providing
  these services.
• The proportion of parents taking part in
  employment and training activities, even in the
  most active and encouraging programmes, is low.
  Those who do take part are almost all mothers.
                        (Meadows and Garbers, 2004:1)
  16. The maternal employment
The emphasis given to support for employability
by programmes reflects different local perceptions
about the appropriate role for mothers in the early
years. In many…there is a strong community
emphasis on the importance of mothers being at
home in their children’s early years.

                  (Meadows and Garbers, 2004:1)
        17. Fathers’ involvement
• Staff in a large majority of SSLPs reported low
  levels of father involvement in programme
• Fathers are inclined to attend activities designed
  specifically for them…
• Fathers continued to come to SSLPs when they
  had seen a positive benefit to themselves or to
  their children from a service.
• Where programmes had high levels of father
  involvement, they had decided early in the
  planning stages of the programme that fathers
  would be central to their work.
                      (Lloyd, O’Brien and Lewis, 2004:1)
 18. The impact of SSLPs on child
development and family functioning
• Cross sectional study of 9- and 36 month old
  children and their families 3 years after Sure Start
• Sample: 16,502 families in first 150 SSLP areas
  and 2,610 families in 50 comparison, Sure Start-
  to-be, communities.
• Assumption: potentially any services user in an
  SSLP area is affected by the SSLP.
• Some small beneficial and developmentally
  adverse impact effects detected.
                             (Melhuish et al, 2005: ii)
        19. Outcome variables
• Cognitive and language development at 36/12.
• Social and emotional development at 36/12.
• Physical health at 9/12 and 36/12.

• Parenting and family functioning at 9/12 and
• Maternal psychological well-being.
• Local area appraisal.
• Services used and rated.
20. Parenting/Family functioning

• Supportive parenting: a construct of ‘responsivity’
  and ‘acceptance’.
• Negative parenting: a construct of parent/child
  conflict, parent/child closeness, harsh discipline
  and home chaos.
• Home learning environment: learning
  opportunities provided in the home.
• Home chaos: disorganised, noisy, lacking regular
NB respondents are MOTHERS.

                           (Melhuish et al, 2005: 39)
       21. Impacts on parenting
• 9/12 Mothers experience less household chaos.
• 36/12 Ms are more accepting of children’s
• 36/12 Non-teen Ms (86% sample) show less
  negative parenting.
• 36/12 Children of Teen mothers show lower
  verbal ability and social competence.
• 36/12 Cn of Teen mothers show more behaviour
• Cn in workless households (40% sample) and
  lone-parent families (33% sample) score
  significantly lower scores on verbal ability.
                             (Melhuish et al, 2005: iv)
      22. Adverse effects in most
      disadvantaged groups: why?
Three possible processes

1. Services being used more extensively by less
   advantaged groups depriving more
2. Negative reaction by most disadvantaged to
   services offered.
3. Working with more cooperative groups easier
   for practitioners.
                         (Melhuish et al, 2005: 34)
     23. Evaluation conclusions
…the findings of this report represent, at best,
early indications of whether SSLPs might be
affecting the well-being of children and families.
Stronger grounds for drawing definitive
conclusions about SSLP effectiveness will exist
once longitudinal data on the 9-month olds and
their families in SSLP areas who are included in
this report are followed up at 36 months of age
and thus have been exposed to SSLPs for a much
longer period of time.
                            (Melhuish et al, 2005:2)
    24.The future of Sure Start: the
            current debate
• Glass, Norman, Founder of Sure Start at HM
  Treasury, now Director of National Centre for
  Social Research. The Guardian, 05.01.05 Surely
  some mistake?
• Hodge, Margaret, Minister for Children. The
  Guardian, 08.01.05 Our baby is thriving.
• Eisenstadt, Naomi, Director of original and current
  Sure Start Unit at DfES. The Guardian, 16.02.05
  Director defends ‘influential’ Sure Start
           25. The DfES response
    2006 Sure Start Children’s Centres Practice
    Guidance emphasises:
•   Local authorities’ need to make services and
    information meet the interests/needs of families
•   Greater emphasis on outreach and home visiting;
•   Primary purpose is improving children’s life
    chances, not to be attractive to parents;
•   Improved joint working and personalisation of
    services delivery;
•   Good practice becoming commonplace.
Glass, N. (1999) ‘Sure Start: The development of an
  early intervention programme for young children
  in the United Kingdom.’ Children & Society, 13,
Gordon, D., Adelman, L., Ashworth, K., Bradshaw,
  J., Levitas, R., Middleton, S., Pantazis, C., Patsios,
  D., Payne, S., Townsend, P.and Williams, J.
  (2000) Poverty and Social Exclusion in Britain.
  York: Joseph Rowntree Foundation
Lloyd, E. (2006) Children, poverty and social
  exclusion. In: D. Gordon, C. Pantazis and R.
  Levitas (eds) Poverty and Social Exclusion in
  Britain: The Millennium Survey. Bristol: Policy
Lloyd, N., O’Brien. M. and Lewis, C. (2004)
  Fathers in Sure Start Local Programmes. National
  Evaluation Summary.

Meadows, P. and Garbers, C. (2004) Improving the
 employability of parents in Sure Start local
 programmes. National Evaluation Summary.
Melhuish, E., Anning, A. and Hall, D. (2005) Early
 Impacts of Sure Start Local Programmes on
 Children and Families. Research Report
 NESS/2005/FR/013/ London: HMSO
NESS, National Evaluation of Sure Start:

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