Core Purpose

THE “CORE PURPOSE”

THE “CORE PURPOSE” OF SURE START CHILDREN’S CENTRES

GOVERNMENT VISION:

The Government believes that Children’s Centres should have a clear core Purpose, focused on:-

1. Improving outcomes for young children and their families, with a particular focus on the most disadvantaged families, in order to reduce inequalities in:

  • Child development and school readiness;
    supported by improved:
  • Parenting aspirations, self esteem and parenting skills
  • Child and family health and life chances

CO-PRODUCED DESCRIPTION OF HOW THE CORE PURPOSE CAN BE ACHIEVED:

The Government has worked with sector leaders to consider evidence and good practice, resulting in a co-produced description of how the core purpose can be achieved, by:
  • Assessing need across the local community
  • Providing access to universal early years services in the local area including high quality and affordable early years education and childcare
  • Providing targeted evidence based early interventions for families in greatest need, in the context of integrated services
  • Acting as a hub for the local community, building social capital and cohesion.
  • Sharing expertise with other early years settings to improve quality.

SECTOR-LED PRINCIPLES:

Sector Leaders believe that all children’s centre activity should be underpinned by the principles of:
  • Respecting and engaging parents
  • Working in partnership across professional/agency boundaries
Each of these areas is explained in more detail below.

1. Improving outcomes for young children and their families, and reducing Inequalities:

This is the overall aim of children’s centres. The purpose around which Children’s Centres should frame their activities is to identify, reach and help the families in greatest need to support:

  • Child development and school readiness - supporting communication, behavioural, emotional and social and physical development, through all stages of development from pre-birth to age 5, so children develop as confident and curious learners, able to benefit from the transition to school
  • Parenting aspirations and parenting skills - building on strengths and supporting aspirations, so that parents and carers are able to give their child the best start in life.
  • Child and family health and life chances - promoting good physical and mental health for both children and their family; safeguarding; supporting parents to improve the skills that enable them to access education, training and employment; and addressing risk factors 4 so that children and their families are safe, free from poverty and able to improve both their immediate wellbeing and their future life chances.