Alliance concerned as Sure Start centre closures surge

Leading early years organisation the Pre-school Learning Alliance has today voiced its concerns after new government figures revealed that the number of children’s centres closing is increasingly sharply.

On Tuesday, in response to a question asked by Labour MP Dan Jarvis, the government confirmed that 156 Sure Start children’s centres were closed in England in 2015, almost double the number that shut the previous year.

Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Pre-school Learning Alliance, commented:

“It is very worrying to see that such a significant number of children's centres across the country are continuing to close.

“Children's centres are a vital source of advice and practical support for families – especially those more disadvantaged families – and so for so many to be disappearing at a time when there is so much government rhetoric on 'closing the gap' and improving children's life chances seems completely contradictory.

“Worse still, a growing number of those children's centres that remain open are unable to offer much more than a skeleton service due to lack of adequate funding, meaning that even more vulnerable families are finding it difficult to access the support they need.

“This is clearly not a sustainable situation and so we urge the government to set out its – now long overdue – strategy for securing the future of children's centres as a matter of priority.”

For further information, or to interview Neil Leitch, please contact:

Emma Caldwell
Pre-school Learning Alliance
T: 020 7697 2598
E: Emma Caldwell

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Editor's Notes:

  • The Pre-school Learning Alliance is the largest and most representative early years membership organisation in England. A registered educational charity, it also provides high-quality affordable childcare and education to support children and families in areas of deprivation throughout the country.
  • The Alliance represents 14,000 member settings and supports them to deliver care and learning to more than 800,000 families every year. We deliver family learning projects, offer information and advice, produce specialist publications, run acclaimed training and accreditation schemes and campaign to influence early years policy and practice.