childcare, early years education and family and health support,
secretary of state for education and skills Charles Clarke said
Mr Clarke was joined by Paul Boateng, chief secretary to the
Treasury, Andrew Smith, secretary of state for work and pensions and
health minister David Lammy to launch the new Sure Start unit. The
new unit will transform childcare, early years education and family
and health support services with a budget of over£1.5bn by 2005-06.
Sure Start, a cross-departmental unit, is headed by Sure Start
minister Catherine Ashton. Naomi Eisenstadt is the director of the
Sure Start Unit, which will support families from pregnancy until
children are 14 by:
- helping families access flexible childcare, early learning and
family and health support, where possible through a single point of
contact, by establishing guiding principles for providers which draw
on best practice;
- enabling local authorities to deliver more integrated high quality
services by reducing bureaucracy and simplifying funding routes; and
- delivering more integrated childcare, early years and family
support policy which builds on the success of local Sure Start
programmes, early education and the national childcare strategy. All
three year olds are to get a free nursery education place in their
area by April 2004, six months earlier than originally planned, as a
result of increased funding to local education authorities.
Charles Clarke, education secretary said:
'Having a strong early start is vital to continued education success.
The new Sure Start will deliver more integrated policy to enable
parents to access affordable good quality childcare, early years
education and family support.
'Sure Start will help local authorities provide joined up services to
ensure that every child receives the best start in life, with
targeted support directed at areas where it is most needed. This
transformation of children and family support services is matched
with a massive investment of over£1.5bn by 2005-06.'
Paul Boateng said:
'Sure Start's budget will rise to£1.5bn by 2005-06 and within this,
funding for childcare will more than double between 2002-3 and
2005-6. With this investment, we are loud and clear about our
commitment to improve children's life chances and half child poverty
Andrew Smith said:
'Families with children want good quality services that are
accessible and flexible. This is what Sure Start is about. With its
joined up approach to childcare, early years and family and health
support services, Sure Start is a step forward to meeting our
commitment to halving child poverty by 2010.'
1. The new Sure Start Unit was launched by secretary of state for
education and skills Charles Clarke and secretary of state for work
and pensions Andrew Smith at the National Sure Start conference on
11 December at the Queen Elizabeth II conference centre. Also
speaking at the conference were: chief secretary to the Treasury Paul
Boateng, health minister David Lammy and Sure Start minister
2. Naomi Eisenstadt has been appointed as director of the Sure Start
Unit. This appointment follows on from her role as acting director of
the Sure Start, Early Years and Childcare Unit.
3. The Sure Start unit works with local authorities, local
communities, and voluntary and private sector organisations. It aims
to ensure delivery of early education for all three- and four-year-
olds, childcare and after school activities in every area, and
children's and family support in disadvantaged areas where they are
most needed. It works with parents to build aspirations for
employment and for their children's education.
4. Sure Start will support families from pregnancy until children are
14 years old or 16, including those with SEN and for those with
disabilities up to 16 when they have special educational needs. The
guiding principles for all Sure Start provision are attached.
5. The new Sure Start for all children builds on the success of local
Sure Start programmes, which will have helped 400,000 children living
in disadvantaged areas by 2004; the early years programme which will
have provided all three and four years olds with a free nursery
education place by April 2004; and the National Childcare Strategy to
offer all children a sure start in life.
6.£319m of Nursery Education Grant will be transferred into Education
Formula Spending for 2003-04,£42m more than the amount of funding to
be distributed for three year olds in 2002-03 through a specific grant.
7. The increase in funding for under 5s will provide adequate funding
to achieve nursery provision for all three and four years olds for
all local authorities by April 2004, six months earlier than the
manifesto commitment. A statutory duty will be placed on local
education authorities to secure sufficient education provision for
all three years olds in their area by April 2004. A free place
consists of five sessions of early education per week, for eleven
weeks per term, for three terms. Each session must be at least 2.5
hours in length. Since, September 1998, all four years olds have had
access to a free nursery place if their parents want it.
Details of local information service and factsheets on childcare
options are available from ChildcareLink freephone 08000 96 02 96 or