South Yorkshire MP expresses concern over closure of children's centres

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A South Yorkshire MP has voiced concern over the rising number of Sure Start children centres closing down.

Dan Jarvis, Labour's MP for Barnsley Central, submitted a written parliamentary question, which led to information being released which showed that 156 centres closed last year.

The figures showed that the number of closures has risen every year since 2010.

Sure Start centres give help and advice on child and family health, parenting, money, training and employment.

Some centres also provide early learning and full day care for pre-school children

Figures released by the Department for Education show that the number of closures in 2015 was almost double that recorded in 2014 when 85 ceased operation.

The statistics show there were no children's centre closures in 2010, 12 in 2011, 27 in 2012, 33 in 2013, 85 in 2014 and 156 in 2015.

Mr Jarvis said the figures were 'deeply concerning'.

Education minister Caroline Dinenage said: "Local authorities have a duty to ensure there are sufficient centres to meet local need; and a duty to consult where changes are planned to local children's centre provision.

"As at October 31, 2016, there were 3,259 main children's centres and sites open to families and children providing children's centre services as part of a network."