Wandsworth is embroiled in a row with Whitehall after claims that the council has closed four Sure Start centres. Articles in the New Statesman and the Independent cite a freedom of information answer which states Wandsworth has closed the Centres.
The Council was originally given a target of 23 Sure Start centres but revised this down to 20. So far 19 are operating and one in Thamesfield ward is being developed with the local NHS. This may end up being a shared project with Granard and West Hill Children’s Centres.
The Council has closed one centre for children with special needs in Earlsfield, but has placed current users in alternative settings. Labour supported petitioners in a plea to keep the centre open for future users but the Tories voted to go ahead with the closure.
Meanwhile the Tory-led government is watering down Labour’s Sure start policy by reviewing the ‘core purpose’ of the centres, the inspection framework and the ‘sufficiency’ requirements: ie the standard of service.
Sure Start is one of the most important social policies introduced by the last Labour government. Studies have shown that similar projects in other countries have a long-term positive impact on children’s learning and their opportunities as adults.
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