Save Sure Start Nurseries

Read about the latest news, reviews, opportunities and opinions from local Tower Hamlets Mums


Child poverty is on the rise in Tower Hamlets and one of the best investments we can make for our future is investing in Early Years.

We’re asking our local councilors to reassure us ahead of the election that no further cuts or plans for privatisation will be made for Early Years in Tower Hamlets.

Please see the below form letter that you can send to your local Councillor. Although it’s always best if you can put it in your own words. Details of who to write to can be found here.

Dear (Insert Councillor Name)

I am writing regarding last years plans to privatise John Smith, John Smith Children’s Centre, Mary Sambrook and Overland Day Nursery. You will know that it is now Tower Hamlets Labour Party policy that the Council should continue to provide these as directly run day nurseries which include provision for children with a range of special needs and prioritise places for single parent families and those on low incomes. 

However, the Labour Party is not giving a clear commitment to do this.  Following the recent consultation for which there was quite an active response from residents who obviously care a great deal about protecting the resources already in place for families in a borough with now 53.4% child poverty. 

The best way to prevent rising crime, obesity and other health related issues, support women and single mothers, prevent children going into care and improve chances for education for all children is investment in Early Years. 

Mayor Biggs proposal to privatise these nurseries or “reprovide them” seems to many parents to be shrouded in spin. 20 years ago, our children’s services were fragmented. Provided by a network of PVIs and private companies, it was not a system that could properly support families facing the challenges which lead so many to poverty and children sometimes going into care.  Along came Sure Start, created hand in hand with the institutions on the front lines with civil servants and politicians, a great deal of research and investment went into these programs as they were seen as a way to deliver children out of poverty. 20 years later their development has led to many successful programs for early years.

We don’t agree that these nurseries are replaceable and that it is possible to form as reliable a service working in partnership with a PVI and deliver the same quality at the same cost. We need long term and stable solutions for families especially in the wake of the currently underfunded 30 hours scheme.

The experience level of the staff at these nurseries is what makes them so great at delivering quality care for families from disadvantaged backgrounds and with learning difficulties.  They should not be compared to other nurseries in the borough. The ratios to child are higher and the staff are more experienced because they need to be to meet the additional demands of working with vulnerable children and those with additional needs. This makes them costlier, but it also means they can deliver what our most vulnerable children require. Any efforts to reduce cost could impact on the quality of care these children need.

Please reassure us that our local Labour Party will follow the National Labour Party Policy of supporting Sure Start ahead of the elections. As Tower Hamlets residents have stated within the consultation, we do not want to see these 3 day nurseries privatised or reprovided.

Yours sincerely,


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