Sure Start Local Programmes (SSLPs) was a major strategic effort by New Labour towards ending child poverty. By changing the way services were delivered to children under four and their families, through targeting and empowering highly-deprived small geographic areas, SSLPs were intended to enhance child, family and community functioning. Following 5 years of systemic research exploring the efficacy and impact of this grand experiment, this book pulls together, in a single volume, the results of the extensive National Evaluation of Sure Start (NESS).
The book reviews the history of policies pertaining to child health and well being which preceded and set the stage for Sure Start. It provides insight into how SSLPs were expected to function and how they actually operated, both in terms of their strengths, weaknesses and costs. The contributors examine the nature of the communities in which these programmes were situated and how they changed over time; present the early effects of SSLPs on children and families, with evidence highlighting some small beneficial effects and some small deleterious ones and extract specific features of SSLPs that contributed to whether individual programmes benefited children and families, providing a guide for the revision of programmes and policies.
With a foreword from Naomi Eisdenstadt, former Director of the Sure Start Programme and concluding chapter by Prof. Sir Michael Rutter, member of the government's scientific advisory board overseeing NESS, this book provides an insightful critique of SSLP policy and NESS that will be of interest to students of child development, families and communities, as well as policymakers and policy scholars, local and national providers of services to children and families and evaluation specialists.
Jay Belsky is Director of the Institute of for the Study of Children, Families and Social Issues and Professor of Psychology at Birkbeck University of London; he is Research Director of NESS.
Jacqueline Barnes is Professor of Psychology at Birkbeck with special interest in families and communities; she directed two of the five core research components of NESS.
Edward Melhuish is Professor of Human Development at Birkbeck with special interests in early child care and early intervention; he is Executive Director of NESS.
Foreword ~ Naomi Eisenstadt; Part One: The historical and policy context: The policy background to Sure Start ~ Edward Melhuish and Sir David Hall; Part Two: The local context of Sure Start Local Programmes: Targeting deprived areas: the nature of the Sure Start Local Programme neighbourhoods ~ Jacqueline Barnes; The challenge of profiling communities ~ Martin Frost and Gillian Harper; Part Three: The implementation of Sure Start Local Programmes: The methodologies for the evaluation of complex interventions: an ongoing debate ~ Pamela Meadows; Sure Start Local Programmes: an overview of the implementation task ~ Jane Tunstill and Debra Allnock; Living with Sure Start: human experience of an early intervention programme ~ Angela Anning and Mog Ball; The costs and benefits of Sure Start Local Programmes ~ Pamela Meadows; Part Four: The impact of Sure Start Local Programmes: Impact on Sure Start Local Programmes on children and families ~ Jay Belsky and Edward Melhuish; Variation in Sure Start Local Programmes: consequences for children and families ~ Edward Melhuish, Jay Belsky, Angela Anning and Mog Ball; How Sure Start Local Programme areas changed ~ Jacqueline Barnes; Part Five: Conclusion: Sure Start Local Programmes: an outsider's perspective ~ Sir Michael Rutter.
" This is an excellent piece of work, which I recommend to service planners, students of social policy and service providers alike, since it, and the more detailed published papers it references, contains useful lessons at all levels." Children and Society
"A useful piece of research analysis and policy discussion." D Saltiel, University of Leeds
"Each chapter in this book provides a robust, well referenced and detailed analysis of the various aspects of the SSLPs and of the on-going monitoring undertaken by NESS." British Journal of Social Work, Vol 38:6, 2008.
"This book offers students and professionals, policymakers and evaluators working with young children and families a full overview of the Sure Start programme... The book contains some rigorous analysis of complex data but also some very accessible writing by academics." Lynda Hassall, Community Care June 2008
"This complex and comprehensive evaluation is written with admirable skill and diplomacy. For those of us in health, education and social care, it focuses on raising the profile of preventive action in the early years." Mitch Blair, River Island Paediatric and Child Health Academic Centre, Imperial College