The scandal of Sure Start and Children's Centre closures

In December 2016 I asked the Government a series of Parliamentary Questions that revealed how deeply their cuts had affected Sure Start and Children's centres.

1. Asked on: 01 December 2016, Department for Education Children's Centres: Closures

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many Sure Start children's centres have closed in England in each year since 2010.

Answered by: Caroline Dinenage Answered on: 06 December 2016

Local authorities have a duty to ensure there are sufficient centres to meet local need; and a duty to consult where changes are planned to local children’s centre provision.

As at 31 October 2016 there were 3,259 main children’s centres and sites open to families and children providing children's centre services as part of a network. Children’s centre records are maintained by local authorities and are made publicly available via the department’s “EduBase portal” at:

Based on the information supplied by local authorities the numbers of centres closed year by year is given in the table below:

Calendar Year

Number of children’s centres closed by year













2. Asked on: 19 December 2016, Department for Education - Children's Centres

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when the Government plans to publish its consultation on the future of children's centres.

Answered by: Caroline Dinenage Answered on: 09 January 2017

The Prime Minister has been clear that tackling poverty and disadvantage, and delivering real social reform, is a priority for this Government. We are considering the future direction for children’s centres and will provide further detail in due course, including how stakeholders and members of the public can contribute.

The requirement for Ofsted to undertake the inspections of Sure Start children’s centres is currently suspended pending the consideration of their future direction as mentioned above. The Secretary of State has not had any recent discussions with Ofsted on the inspection of children’s centres.

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