Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Three Children Centres Axed, others have budgets reduced

How many will be damaged irreparably by these cold calculations?
The budget going to the Brent Executive on Tuesday includes proposals to save a total of £2,250,000 from early years provision and children centres. An additional £1,300,000 will be cut in 2012-13

The Sudbury and Cricklewood Children Centres and the  Kingsbury Intergenerational Centre  will not start . The existing  centre teams will be restructured which not only will mean a loss of jobs but probably a reduction in the quality of staff as 'expensive' well-qualified early years specialist will no longer be recruited.. Sure Start central expenditure will be reduced as will allocations to each centre. In addition the Council is negotiating with Preston Park Primary, Wykeham Primary and Mount Stewart to persuade them to take over the running of modified children centres on their sites.

Although the document argues that the offer to vulnerable families can be maintained it is hard to see how this will be possible. It must be deeply troubling to Labour councillors to find themselves in this position.  Early intervention has been proved time and time again to be more effective than later intervention and to save money in the long run. It will not only cost more in financial times but the social cost for economically and socially disadvantaged families will be enormous.  Schools already facing funding cuts in real terms will in the future have to make additional provision for pupils who made insufficient progress in early years.

We will be failing a generation.

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