Exclusive: Gyimah launches children's centre consultation

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The Government is to launch a consultation on the future of children’s centres this autumn.

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Making the announcement exclusively in the latest issue of Nursery World, childcare minister Sam Gyimah said he wants everyone who accesses, works in or oversees children’s centres to contribute to the ‘full and open’ consultation.

The aim of the consultation is to determine if the Government is maximising the impact of children’s centres and whether they are helping families most in need.

According to Mr Gyimah, too few children’s centres are good or outstanding and as a result they aren’t helping families in the way they should be.

Writing in Nursery World, Mr Gyimah said, ‘When they work, children’s centres have the potential to make a critical difference to young families at vulnerable and challenging times in their lives.

‘But the reality is that not enough children’s centres are good or outstanding, and as a result they aren’t helping families in the way they should be. We have to collectively look into why that is the case. Like everyone who is committed to this moral mission, I am not content to accept things when there is a possibility for improvement.'

Mr Gyimah will also work with Ofsted to reform the way children’s centres are inspected, reflecting changes to how the provision is delivered across the country.

He said, ‘It’s about time that children’s centres are inspected on how they are organised now and their impact – not how they were organised in the past.

‘Local areas are adopting new models of delivery of services from children’s centres, meaning there is a very changed landscape from when they were first envisaged.

‘I don’t want to see Ofsted having to inspect children’s centres using a framework that is out of date, no longer fit for purpose and doesn’t reflect reality on the ground.’

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