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HALF A MILLION FAMILIES FIND OUT MORE ABOUT SURE START

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Around half a million families are expected to take part in over ...
Around half a million families are expected to take part in over

3,000 events across the country organised for national Sure Start

month to celebrate and promote childcare, early education and family

support services.

Launching Sure Start month, Catherine Ashton, minister for Sure Start

welcomed the support of voluntary sector and private organisations in

working with the maintained sector to provide good quality childcare,

early years learning and family support.

Ms Ashton said:

'We are seeing a revolution in the services available for pre-school

children and that is thanks to the partnership that exists between

private, voluntary and maintained organisations.

'We have moved from a situation before 1997 where there was limited

state support for nursery provision to a situation where 88% of three

years old are now receiving some level of state funded early years

education, whether it is provided in the maintained, voluntary or

private sector.

'Already all four years olds, whose parents want it, get five

sessions of early learning a week and by April 2004, all three years

olds will have this entitlement. This will have a dramatic impact of

on the lives of young children.

'In addition, over 647,000 new childcare places have been created;

targeted support is helping develop more childcare, early learning

and family support where there is greatest need though local Sure

Start programmes and our new children's centres; and financial help

is enabling parents on low and middle incomes to afford good quality

childcare.

'Sure Start touches every aspect of children's lives - it is the

first phase of lifelong learning and as well as boosting their

development it protects children against risk and ill health and

secures pathways out of poverty.

'This month, about half a million families are expected to take part

in Sure Start celebrations across the country. Sure Start month will

help m ore people find out about the Sure Start services available to

them to help all children get a sure start in life.'

NOTES

This Press Notice applies to England.

- The number of three year olds benefiting from funded early

education was published in Statistical First Release 15/2003

'Provision for Children Under Five Years of Age in England -

January 2003 (Provisional)', which is available on the department's

website: www.dfes.gov.uk/statistics. The number of three year olds

benefiting from funded early education in January 2003 was 510,400

or 88% of the three year old population, either at private and

voluntary providers (271,500) or maintained nursery and primary

schools (218,500).

- Around half a million families are expected to take part in over

3,000 events across the country organised for national Sure Start

month to celebrate and promote childcare, early education and

family support services. For a map of events happening across the

country view www.nationalsurestartmonth.com or contact Kids'

Clubs Network on 0207 522 6962

- Sponsored by Sure Start, National Sure Start Month is being

organised by Kids' Clubs Network in conjunction with the leading

childcare charities Daycare Trust, National Childminding

Association, National Day Nurseries Association and Pre-school

Learning Alliance.

- Sure Start aims to provide a sure start for every child by

delivering a joined-up approach to childcare, early years education

and family and health support. It supports all young families -

from pregnant mothers to those with children up to 14. Sure Start

aims to provide universal, free part-time early education for three

and four year olds, alongside more childcare and family support

services, with greater assistance where there is a greater need.

- Sure Start is working with local authorities, parents, employers,

the voluntary sector and public and priva te nurseries to improve

access to good quality and affordable childcare, early years and

family support.

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