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Sure Start 2020: sure stop?

Naomi Eisenstadt, Senior Research Fellow, University of Oxford and first Director of the Sure Start Programme (1999–2006)

Date/Time: 8th October 2015

Sure Start was one of the flagship policies of the 1997 Labour Government. In this lecture its founding director discusses what has been learned about community-based support for families with young children 20 years on, and asks:

  • How have early years services developed?
  • How have successive governments changed early years provision?

Given the continued pressure on public finances, she also considers what services are likely to survive. 

Speaker biography

After spending several years working first in nurseries and then in management positions in children’s charities, in 1999 Naomi Eisenstadt became the first director of the Sure Start Unit.

Starting out in the civil service with responsibility for Sure Start local programmes, her portfolio grew over seven years to include early education, childcare, parenting policy, and extended schools. She then spent one year as the Secretary of State’s Chief Adviser on Children’s Services.

Her last three years before leaving the civil service were as Director of the Social Exclusion Task Force. A key achievement in the Task Force: was the publication of ‘Think Family’, a series of policy proposals on the interaction of parent circumstances on their children’s outcomes. Naomi’s key interests are in children’s services, poverty and its impact on children, and family policy.

She is currently working with the Department of Education and the Social Policy Department at the University of Oxford and has recently written a book on Sure Start, published by Policy Press.

Listen to a recording of this lecture