Just last week Schools Secretary Ed Balls defended Sure Start, claiming that the
Conservatives planned to slash £200million from the service, and declared that the scheme meant that ‘every parent of a young child will get help and advice on parenting, childcare, health and employment’.
However the education department of Labour-controlled Hackney Council in East London – known as The Learning Trust – was concerned the Paint Pots Art Club was not being used by enough poor people and pulled the plug on it.
The area covered by Paint Pots is one of the most diverse in the country, including deprived council estates and houses worth £1million.
Paint Pots director Ella Ritches said the Learning Trust, which runs 19 childcare centres on behalf of the Government, ordered her to target more deprived families in 2008.
She and her co-director leafleted nearby estates and organised numerous meetings with leaders in the local Turkish and Kurdish communities to try to spark interest.
But in January this year, Mrs Ritches was called to a meeting with officials from the Ann Tayler Children’s Centre, a larger Sure Start programme which the Learning Trust used to fund Paint Pots.
She discovered that the Learning Trust had scanned the postcodes of all parents using the centre and decided the home addresses indicated users were not sufficiently ‘vulnerable’.
She said: ‘Sure Start services are supposed to be available to everyone. Middle-class mothers struggle with work, sleep deprivation and post-natal depression just like any other mother.
'But the Learning Trust officials concluded that 68 per cent of all users were white. I told them that just because they are white does not mean they are middle-class. But they said you could work out their properties’ value from the postcodes.’
Sunday, March 21, 2010
UK council stops kid's art club for being too white.
A classic UK cockup of diversity being more important than common sense.