For years health and educational professionals have argued that childrens’ life chances would be significantly enhanced by the provision of high quality nursery schooling from the early years. As a result Labour governments have provided free nursery schooling for all young children from the age of three onwards.
However it has not stopped there. Surestart Childrens’ Centres were created to give help, advice and support for young families right from birth up to the age of 5. Mums and Dads visit these centres to meet midwifes, other health and educational support teams as well as other young couples in the attempt to give children the best possible start in life. Starting with the Oakfield centre, the programme has been extended to cover Temple Hill, Stone, Greenhithe, Swanscombe, Brent and Maypole. Although the Tory-led coalition promised to keep these very successful and very popular facilities open recent, severe cut- backs in local council spending threaten their ability to run the wide range of services that they have provided up to now.