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Minister confirms over 1,000 children’s centres have closed over the past decade

Children's Minister, Will Quince provides official data showing over 1,342 Children’s Centre’s have shut between 2010 and 2021

Responding to a written question by Labour MP, Helen Hayes, the figures show a significant fall in the number of centres now open.

Early Years Alliance analysis of the figures shows that:

  • The number of full children centres has fallen from 3615 to 2273 since 2010, a decline of 1342
  • Local authorities have seen an average decrease in the number of full children’s centres in their respective areas of 37% since 2010.  
  • 51 local authorities have seen the number of full children's centres more than halve since 2010.  
  • Only 2 local authorities have seen an increase in the number of full children’s centres since 2010.

Neil Leitch, CEO of the Early Years Alliance, said:

“We know that children’s centres are a vital source of support, practical advice and guidance for families across the country, and in particular, disadvantaged and vulnerable families. As such, it is extremely worrying that over 1,300 centres have closed since 2011, and that more than 50 local authorities have seen the number of full centres in their areas more than halve.

“While the government’s plan to invest in a new programme of family hubs is welcome, it’s very difficult to see how the plans as described to date will compensate for the sheer scale of the closures that these figures show.

“For so many children’s centres to be disappearing over a period when there has been so much government rhetoric on closing the gap, improving life chances and, most recently, ‘levelling up’ seems completely contradictory. If the government is genuinely committed to ensuring that children and families are able to access the support they need, they need to invest in the services that deliver this.”