Summary of Service
Slough Borough Council manages the network of 10 children’s centres which are strategically located to serve the entire population of Slough; address and locations can be found here.
The centres are mainly co-located on primary school sites and offer a range of services across a locality known as the ‘reach area’.
The core purpose of children’s centres is to improve outcomes for young children and their families and reduce inequalities between families in greatest need and their peers in:
- Child development and school readiness;
- Parenting aspirations and parenting skills; and
- Child and family health and life chances.
Children’s Centre Services include:
- Universal services open to all residents of Slough, including health drop in and checks, speech and language drop in service, little learners groups, adult learning, and groups for families
- Early years provision is open to all
- Early years (including full day care) integrated with free early learning for two, three and four year olds, including the extended entitlement - 30 hrs. and wrap around and collection services with the school on a shared site
- Targeted services including tailored early help for families.
Children’s centre services are funded through the council’s General Fund.
Early education services are funded through the Dedicated Schools Grant.
- Childcare services generate income in-order to be cost neutral.
Who is this service for
Slough children’s centres are available to all families with a child under 5 years across Slough.
Children’s centres evolved from Sure Start Local Programmes after being introduced in 1998 as a multi-departmental programme of early intervention for under-fours.
• The 2004, Ten year childcare strategy changed the focus to delivery of services through children’s centres
• Children’s centres had an increased focus on childcare and early years education, with services provided to the under-fives.
• Children’s centres were given a statutory basis in 2009.
Legislation about children’s centres is contained in the Childcare Act 2006 and the following sections relate directly to children’s centres.
New provisions were inserted into the Act by the Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Act (ASCL) 2009. Both Acts can be viewed at www.legislation.gov.uk
A young child is a child aged between birth and 5 years.
Integrated working is where everyone supporting children work together effectively to put the child at the centre, meet their needs and improve their lives.
- Section 1: Duty on local authorities to improve the well-being of young children in their area and reduce inequalities between them
- Section 2: Explanation of the meaning of early childhood services
- Section 3: Duty on local authorities to make arrangements to secure that early childhood services in their area are provided in an integrated manner in order to facilitate access and maximise the benefits of those services to young children and their parents
- Section 4: Duty on commissioners of local health services and Jobcentre Plus (as ‘relevant partners’) to work together with local authorities in their arrangements for improving the well-being of young children and securing integrated early childhood services
- Section 5A: Arrangements to be made by local authorities so that there are sufficient children’s centres, so far as reasonably practicable, to meet local need. This section defines what a Sure Start children’s centre is and what arrangements and services constitute a children’s centre
- Section 5C: Duty on local authorities to ensure each children’s centre is within the remit of an advisory board, its make up and purpose
- Section 5D: Duty on local authorities to ensure there is consultation before any significant changes are made to children’s centre provision in their area
- Section 5E: Duty on local authorities, local commissioners of health services and Jobcentre Plus to consider whether the early childhood services they provide should be provided through children’s centres in the area
- Section 98C (Part 3A of the Act): Duties on local authorities after receiving a report from Ofsted following the inspection of a children’s centre. This includes preparing and publishing a written statement (an Action Plan) setting out the action to be taken in response to the report
Ofsted are considering the inspection framework for children’s centre services. Early education and childcare continues to be inspected under the early years framework.
Links with other Services
Slough children’s centres work in partnership with a range of organisations including: Public Health Nursing 4 Slough, Slough Children’s Services Trust, Wexham Park Hospital Trust, Slough Integrated Therapy Team, Domestic Abuse Agencies - Hestia, Job Centre Plus, Adult and Community Learning providers, Private, Voluntary and Independent Sector Providers, Voluntary Organisations including Home-Start, P3 and Foodbank, Shelter, and across a range of council departments within Slough Borough Council.