Sure Start survey shows why disadvantaged families need support

New research published by the Department for Education presents findings from a baseline survey of families using Sure Start Children’s Centres (SSCCs), which aim to reduce inequalities in child development and school readiness. The data forms part of a six-year study examining SSCCs in the most disadvantaged areas of England, and was taken from interviews with a sample of 5,717 parents with a “selected child” aged 9-18 months old.

The survey explored take-up of services at the centres, as well as the socio-economic characteristics of the families using them.

Extensive findings are detailed in the report, and a research brief outlines key results. Negative findings were often associated with disadvantaged families, including:

    • Families with lower incomes and where mothers had lower levels of educational attainment had a less favourable home learning environment (HLE).
    • Families where parents did not work had lower HLE scores than those where at least one parent was in paid employment.
    • Households with lower incomes were slightly more likely to be characterised by less favourable parenting and family functioning.
    • Families with lower incomes, those where mothers had lower educational attainment, single parents, and those where parents did not work, tended to have slightly more chaotic and less organised homes than those in more advantaged circumstances.

Source: Evaluation of Children’s Centres in England (ECCE). Strand 2: Baseline Survey of Families Using Children’s Centres in the Most Disadvantaged Areas. Research Report (2013), Department for Education.

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