The National Evaluation of Sure Start: does area-based intervention work?

The National Evaluation of Sure Start: does area-based intervention work?

5/5 stars

Ed: Jay Belsky, Jacqueline Barnes and Edward Melhuish

Policy Press

Paperback ISBN 9781861349491


The government’s Sure Start programme has attracted a lot of negative press following evaluation outcomes from the academic research, whereas service users and many professionals have seen its positive impact on family life and professional practice. So why the apparent discrepancy?

This book offers students and professionals, policymakers and evaluators working with young children and families, a full overview of the Sure Start programme from its inception in 1998, covering the political context, the implementation and development of Sure Start local programmes, and their impact on children under four and their families. It sets out the learning which has been derived from Sure Start’s multiple evaluations, and notes the successes and the difficulties in the delivery of the programme and the achievement of its objectives.

The contributors were members of the national evaluation of Sure Start, so the book contains some rigorous analysis of complex data, but also some very accessible writing by academics.

The foreword by Naomi Eisenstadt (former director of Sure Start), and conclusion by Sir Michael Rutter, give additional and interesting personal views as well as a readable précis of the information in the book.

Lynda Hassall is programme manager, Sure Start Carlisle South Children’s Centre

See research evaluation

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