Thursday, 9 February 2012


Usual conclusion

On sudden impulse, to Wolverhampton, to the dreaming spires of its Central Campus, to hear Naomi Eisenstadt expiate upon what she learned from directing the early years of Surestart:

(A book is recently out.)

As a social phenomenon, this morning was mildly interesting. At a substantive level, a total waste of time.

Through all the intervening years of tosh, I vaguely recall the hope that was directed towards Surestart. And what has been its discernible outcome? Nice jobs for those who shamelessly dance attendance around the petticoats of government, and loads of potentially unwanted new buildings scattered around the country. Oh yes, and parents whose children attended (not on the whole those for whom this service was originally intended) said that they liked it.

(The overall cost of all this, not least in resources diverted? Who knows?)

Ms Eisenstatd was in charge for Surestart's first seven years (since when she has gone on to be in charge of other such things). This morning she seemed cheerfully unabashed. This was as ever mildly interesting, but no surprise. Plenty more like her. One is well used to them.

Part of the Early Years belief system (ideology, superstition) is that early intervention such as Surestart does wonders for children's subsequent school attainment. Oh well, so it goes. Coincidentally, earlier this morning I had read yet another bulletin/comment on the UK's comparative educational attainment:

Personally I regard things like Surestart as moreillustrative of the problem than of its solution. This morning I did wonder whether Ms Eisenstadt and I would have any common ground at all on the question of what problem this might be – or whose.


Rachel Williams useful review of Providing a Sure Start. How government discovered early childhood, by Naomi Eisenstadt,

Williams,R .(2011) The evolution of Sure Start: the challenges and the successes, The Guardian, 19 October

1 comment:

  1. And ditto at the other end of the 'training' journey, the "abysmal" record of A4E. Don't even consider the "creaming and parking" of disabled adults. Guardian today