ASCL comment on calls for new model of Sure Start

Pepe Di’Iasio, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, responds to a report from Child of the North and Centre for Young Lives, which calls for schools to be at the centre of a new model of Sure Start.
“We wholeheartedly support the call for joined up support around schools. Many of our present-day problems – high rates of absenteeism, behaviour challenges, children’s mental health – are linked to reduced capacity in local support services including government funding cuts which led to the closure of many Sure Start centres. Schools have stepped into fill the gaps – through breakfast clubs and other initiatives – as much as that is possible after a decade of cuts to their own budgets. But the whole network of care and support has taken an absolute hammering and we urgently need a strategic national approach with the flexibility to take into account existing programmes and geared to what works best in each local area.”