A damning report which revealed the full extent of the harm done by funding cuts to children’s centres was among more than 400 statements, documents and reports quietly released by the Government just before Christmas.
A six-year study by Oxford University researchers ‘The impact of children’s centres: studying the effects of children’s centres in promoting better outcomes for young children and their families‘ highlighted how children’s centres – often known as Sure Start – were making a difference in some of the poorest areas of the country, but have suffered acutely from cuts or restructuring.
The final report was agreed in August, but the Department for Education (DfE), which commissioned it, quietly slipped it out on 17 December, along with hundreds of other statements, documents and reports.
The study is the most detailed ever conducted into the impact of children’s centres on the families who use them. The researchers examined 117 children’s centres in 2011 and 2013 – many of which may have been hit by further cuts since – and analysed interviews with more than 2,600 parents who used them, in order to calculate the impact the centres were having on families using different types of service.