Universal dis-service

13th November 2009 at 00:00

The benefits of Sure Start children's centres are at risk of being diluted as the programme is expanded in England from being a service for disadvantaged children to a universal one, leading academics warned. There are due to be 3,500 children's centres in England by the end of 2010. But Iram Siraj-Blatchford, professor of early childhood education at the Institute of Education, told Westminster MPs last week that he would rather have "500 children's centres, doing a fantastic job, than 3,500 delivering a squib".

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