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Children's Centres

Volume 475: debated on Tuesday 6 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) how many children aged (a) under one, (b) one year old, (c) two years old, (d) three years old, (e) four years old, (f) five years old and (g) more than five years old attended children's centres in each year for which figures are available; (202828)

(2) how many children attended each children's centre in each year for which figures are available;

(3) how many and what proportion of children attending children's centres were in the care of a local authority in each year for which figures are available;

(4) how many and what proportion of children attending children's centres were from socio-economic groups four to seven in each year for which figures are available;

(5) how many and what proportion of children attending children's centres were from black, minority or ethnic backgrounds in each year for which figures are available.

Sure Start Children's Centres offer a wide range of services to children and families, including childcare, health and family support services. The Department does not collect data on all children attending children's centres. However the Childcare and Early Years Providers survey does provide some data on children attending full day care provision in children's centres.

The 2006 Childcare and Early Years Providers survey estimated that there were 40,050 children attending full day care provision in Sure Start Children's Centres in England. At 31 March 2006 there were 836 designated children's centres.

The proportion of children attending, by age is shown in the following table.

Table 1: Percentage of children attending full day care provision in Sure Start Children's Centres, by age—2006

Percentage

Under 2 years old

21

2 years old

29

3 years old

28

4 years old

16

5-7 years old

2

8 years old and over

2

Note:

Percentages may not sum to 100 per cent due to rounding.

The 2006 Childcare and Early Years Providers Survey estimated that there were approximately 10,250 children from a black and minority ethnic group attending full day care provision in children's centres, an average of 24 per cent. of children per setting.

The Childcare and Early Years Providers survey does not collect information about children in care or children's socio-economic groups.

Data for previous years are not available; children's centres were included in the survey for the first time in 2006.

Local authorities are responsible for the performance management of children's centres. To support them in this, and to encourage a systematic approach, we issued “Planning and Performance Management Guidance” in November 2006 including a framework of performance indicators reflecting the every child matters (ECM) outcomes, national public service agreement targets, and key activities for centres for example reaching excluded groups in their area; and a self evaluation form for centres to complete and discuss with their local authority. In line with the proposals in “Strong and Prosperous Communities”, the local government White Paper published in October 2006, we are moving to a more streamlined and proportionate performance management regime with a new national indicator set which includes indicators relating to Sure Start Children's Centres.