MORE than 10,000 leaflets and posters were sent to schools, childcare providers, parents and carers during the council’s consultation on changes to nurseries and children’s centres.
Officials visited all 36 Sure Start centres to speak to parents and staff, while meetings were held with managers at affected nurseries. Sheffield Council said 1,555 consultation forms were returned, 76 per cent of which were from parents.
Parents of children with special needs and disabilities were the most concerned about the changes. Worried mums and dads urged the council to ensure their children still had access to a special needs co-ordinator after the shake-up.
Parents also called for ‘proper marketing’ of outreach services once Sure Start centres are reorganised.
They were also concerned existing children’s centre buildings opened over the last decade should be retained ‘to avoid wasting capital investment’. And there was support for cuts to management costs rather than cutting services.
Meanwhile, some parents suggested all children’s centre activities - including the 20 nurseries - should be ‘brought under council control to ensure services are consistent’.
Sheffield Council’s cabinet member for children’s services, Coun Jackie Drayton, has written to Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, and Education Secretary Michael Gove, inviting them to a scrutiny board about the changes on February 27.
The shake-up is also on the agenda at Wednesday’s council cabinet meeting.