They said ..

7th March 2008 at 00:00
'pound;3.1 billion flagship project to help deprived families is failing to meet even half of its targets.' - The Independent

We say ...

There are three problems here. The first is simple mathematics. Sure Start, the Government's programme to help disadvantaged 3 and 4-year-olds, is judged against 14 indicators and has seen an improvement in seven of these. So, contrary to The Independent report, it has met half of these.

Second, and more pedantically, they are indicators, not targets - there is not a set percentage or date by which they must improve to qualify as hitting or missing.

The final issue is one of practicality. Two of the indicators that have not improved - maternal smoking and maternal weight - are long-term goals. It was never anticipated that these would be achieved in a few years, so they cannot strictly be deemed a failure.

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