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From Sure Start to children's centres: an analysis of policy change in English early years programmes

Lewis, Jane (2011) From Sure Start to children's centres: an analysis of policy change in English early years programmes. Journal of Social Policy, 40 (1). pp. 71-88. ISSN 0047-2794

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Identification Number: 10.1017/S0047279410000280


Sure Start was set up in 1998 as a flagship policy of the first New Labour government, with the promise of ten years funding. However, in 2003 it was superseded by plans for the establishment of Children's Centres, a universal programme rather than one for disadvantaged areas as in the case of Sure Start local programmes. The government claimed that the shift to Children's Centres represented continuity, but, using historical methods and key informant interviews, this paper shows that there was considerable change, particularly in the programme content and governance of the new centres. The paper explores the reasons for the policy shift in terms of factors arising from changes in government's goals for Sure Start and for children's services more broadly on the one hand, and from evidence of programme failure on the other. It concludes by reflecting on why the shift to Children's Centres was claimed as continuity rather than change, and what this tells us about the nature of policy change.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2010 Cambridge University Press
Divisions: Social Policy
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
L Education > L Education (General)
Date Deposited: 08 Feb 2011 14:38
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 01:13

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