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Sure Start

Education and Skills written question – answered on 8th March 2005.

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Photo of Ms Lorna Fitzsimons Ms Lorna Fitzsimons Labour, Rochdale

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills

(1) if she will make a statement on the effects of each Sure Start programme in Rochdale;

(2) what research she has conducted on the effects of Sure Start programmes in Rochdale on (a) literacy, (b) speech and language development, (c) levels of breast feeding, (d) smoking cessation and (e) post-natal depression;

(3) what assessment she has made of levels of satisfaction of parents in Rochdale with the services provided by Sure Start programmes.

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

There are three Sure Start local programmes in Rochdale constituency; Castlemere, Deeplish and Newbold approved in 2000; Belfield, Hamer and Waddleworth approved in 2001; and Kirkholt, Turfhill and Wellfield approved in 2003. Between them the three programmes provide services to 2,300 young children living within their respective catchment areas. The programmes deliver a wide range of services to support local families including training in parenting skills, access to health services at the centres and outreach support to children and families in their home.

The programmes' funding for the current and future years is as follows:

Programme name Capital Revenue
Approved 2004–05 2005–06 2006–07
Castle mere Deplish and Newbold 982,206 769,660 788,902 788,902
Belfield, Hamer and Waddleworth 684,417 753,375 772,209 772,209
Kirkholt, Turfhill and Wellfield 256,760 645,000 661,125 661,125

These programmes are developing into children's centres and will contribute towards achieving our goal of a children's centre in every community by 2010.

The Department does not conduct research on the impact of individual Sure Start programmes. Instead, a comprehensive national level evaluation system is in place that looks at programmes across the board and will examine the effectiveness of Sure Start for children, families and communities over time.

Programmes carry out their own local evaluation. The available data from these show that since opening, the Castlemere Deeplish and Newbold and Belfield Hamer and Waddleworth local programmes achieved a 20 per cent. increase in the number of children scoring above average levels in the speech and language measure assessment on children aged 2 years, and a reduction of 6 per cent. in the number of children scoring below the average levels.

Since these two programmes were approved there has been on average an increase of 60 per cent. in the number of mothers breastfeeding.

A user satisfaction survey is conducted by each programme after its opening and thereafter on a three-year cycle. Within the Castlemere, Deeplish and Newbold local programme area 95 per cent. of families responded that they were satisfied" or very satisfied" with the programme's services in April 2003. In September 2003 the corresponding survey in the Belfield, Hamer and Waddleworth local programme area showed that 98 per cent. of families were satisfied" or very satisfied". The Kirkholt, Turfhill and Wellfield programme is due to report in September 2005.

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