ASCL comment on IFS report on impact of Sure Start


Margaret Mulholland, SEND and Inclusion Specialist at the Association of School and College Leaders, responds to a report from the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), which states that the Sure Start programme boosted the educational performance of pupils from low-income backgrounds and increased support for children with special educational needs.


“This report demonstrates just how important early intervention is to educational outcomes in general, but particularly for supporting children with special educational needs. It also shows the folly of cutting back the funding for these centres during the 2010s. This short-sighted decision has arguably cost more money than it has saved as a result of the significant increase in SEND requirements which might have been offset if support had been in place for children at an earlier age.

“There is very strong evidence that this form of support – for children and families – provided early in life is key to improving outcomes, closing attainment gaps and ensuring all pupils, including those with special educational needs, get the support they need in order to thrive.”