Damian Hinds, you've had 100 days of introductions and meetings, now time for action

Posted by / Friday 20 April 2018 / Children's centres Early intervention Government spending
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After 100 days in a job, you’ve come to know your workload and what’s expected of you. You’ve done the introductions and maybe sat in on a few meetings where you didn’t quite understand everything that was being discussed.

But after 100 days – around 3 months - you’re expected to have set objectives, got to grips with your work and to be in the full swing of things.

On Wednesday, the Education Secretary, Damian Hinds, reached his 100th day in the role.

In that time, we’ve had the Winter Olympics, the Commonwealth Games, centenary celebrations around voting rights for some women, along with a many statements and announcements from the Government.

But what we haven’t seen is an acknowledgement from the Education Secretary of the vital role children’s centres play in our society. This is worrying because over 1,000 of these centres have closed since 2010, leaving families without crucial support.

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So, on his 100th day as Education Secretary, children and parents from one of our children’s centres in Norfolk travelled to London to highlight their concerns about the closure of children’s centres.

They delivered a giant card for Mr Hinds, featuring paper cut out balloons the children had decorated, which invited the Education Secretary to visit a children’s centre in his next 100 days to see the vital work they do.

Complete with buggies, sunglasses and lots of snacks, they posed outside Parliament with the card and spoke to media about the positive impact their own children’s centre has had on their lives.

The group, with children in tow, then headed to the Department for Education in the sun where they handed in a smaller version of the card, bearing the names of over 500 of our campaign supporters who signed the card. The staff coming in and out of the building were quite bemused by the arrival of a small army of parents and young children…

"I didn’t get out of the house until my daughter was three months old. I had to get her weighed and the staff encouraged me to come to the group."

Parents on why children's centres are so important to them
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But despite the beautiful weather, the giggles of the children, and the lively atmosphere around Parliament, the comments from the parents about how they would be lost without the children’s centre were sobering.

And with children’s centres now closing at a rate of 1 a week, we hope that the Government listens to the concerns of these parents, and the thousands of others like them, and that the Education Secretary takes us up on our offer of visiting a centre in his next 100 days.

Too many children are missing out on the #BestStart in life. Up and down the country, support for families from poor backgrounds is disappearing. Sign our petition to pressure the Government to take urgent action.

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