New era for Bexley’s children’s centres; working with users of the service with newly created team.

Claims that all centres were to close are wrong.

Bexley’s Conservative controlled Council has published new plans for the Borough’s Children’s Centres.

These will be considered at the Council’s Public Cabinet meeting on September 1st and follows two periods of extensive consultation with partners, staff, parents, various faith and community groups, libraries, and leisure centres plus of course Councillors of all parties and MP’s.

The plans will see the Council create a new Children’s Centre team of outreach workers who will be working across an increased variety of venues to deliver support and help to all Bexley children during the first critical 1001 days of life. The need to focus particularly on those first 1001 days has been identified as key in various findings including the recent Leadsom Report.

No Children’s Centres will close but some will be reconfigured to Early Years Status. This will provide the opportunity to engage with the most vulnerable families in the Borough and ensure they get help when they need it most whilst still facilitating, for all children, access to the universal provision being delivered by both private and voluntary sector partners across Bexley.

Bexley’s Children’s Services are rated as “Outstanding” by Ofsted, one of many services run by Bexley’s Conservative Council which are rated as among the best in the country.

Cllr Philip Read, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, said: “The new way of working means we have a service for children’s designed for 2021 and beyond, rather than just sticking with a system that has become outdated and has become unresponsive to what people need now.

“We will be providing more groups to support expectant mothers and families with babies during the first 1001 days of life, up to and including the age of 2 years old, whilst continuing to support those children aged 3-5 years old who are not taking up a childcare place so that we help support them to get ready for school and make sure that they are not left behind.

“We intend to make more support available within those communities, for example Thamesmead, where take up of support in the early years is at its lowest. It means that, rather than some provision operating from locations that are not always appropriate for all users, there will be flexibility in where services will be provided, making the new service response to users and their needs.

“I want to thank everyone who has taken part in the consultation over recent months, and who have helped shape this new way of working.

We’ve had some great ideas and comments and I also want to thank our own team for all the work they have put in.”

Read the Cabinet papers in full here:

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