Sure Start needs to take account of parents’ views

Local authorities will be obliged to involve parents in the
development of Sure Start children centres, the education secretary
promised today, writes Lauren Revans in

In her first early years speech since taking up the post, Ruth
Kelly gave a commitment to delegates at the Daycare Trust’s
annual Sure Start children’s centres conference in London
that local authorities would not be able to ignore the views of
parents and children as they take over responsibility for the
expansion of Sure Start services.
“There is a real plea that we don’t lose what is
valuable about Sure Start,” Kelly said. “I take that on
She said discussions where already under way as to what sort of
duty on local authorities might be needed.
“One of the things I am really keen to build into it is about
the importance of children’s and parent’s views,”
Kelly said. “Part of that will be about using a duty on local
authorities crafted in such a way that means they will have to
involve parents.” 
Kelly was responding to concerns from delegates that discussions on
the ground were tending to start with the issues of service
delivery, not with parents’ needs.  This problem was
attributed in part to time and money pressures imposed on councils
by the Department for Education and Skills.

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