Influenced by research indicating long-term benefits of early childhood programmes for disadvantaged children, the Government of the time set up Sure Start Local Programmes (SSLPs) from 1998 to reduce child poverty and social exclusion. By 2004, 524 SSLPs targeted families with children 0-4 years of age in the 20% most deprived communities.
In 2005 it was decided to develop SSLPs further by turning them into children’s centres and roll out the programme nationally, ensuring that comprehensive early education and family support services are available for every community. The National Evaluation of Sure Start has been undertaking research relevant to the development of SSLPs since 2001. This part of the study focuses on 150 SSLP areas from the first four rounds of SSLPs, which are all in deprived areas.
This report presents new information, collected as part of the National Evaluation of Sure Start (NESS) and is in two parts; Part A considers the characteristics and quality of group childcare settings used by children in areas served by SSLPs, and was conducted from 2006 to 2008. Part B uses data on the outcomes of 5-year-olds, collected in the NESS Impact Study between 2007 and 2009, to examine relationships between pre-school childcare quality and child outcomes.