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Sure Start (Chatham)

Education and Skills written question – answered on 29th April 2004.

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Photo of Jonathan R Shaw Jonathan R Shaw Labour, Chatham and Aylesford

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment he has made of the effect of the Sure Start programme in Chatham.

Photo of Margaret Hodge Margaret Hodge Minister of State (Education and Skills) (Children)

Sure Start Chatham is starting to make a difference to the children and families in the area. The programme has launched a highly successful programme where mothers encourage other mothers to breast-feed; breast-feeding rates are now up by about 20 per cent. And the uptake rate for hearing tests which was about 33 per cent. before the programme began, now stands at 97 per cent.

Nationally we are undertaking a major and comprehensive evaluation of the Sure Start Programme. Results will become available over the next 12 months. But to give just one example of the impact, we know that in Sure Start local programme areas, there has been a 6 per cent. reduction in percentage of mothers who smoke during pregnancy; and we know that that will make a real difference to the health and well being of a child.

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