2004 Conference

The National Evaluation of Sure Start (NESS) includes one module that supports the 524 Sure Start Local Programmes to carry out evaluations of their services, looking both at process and outcomes. Many programmes have adopted methodologies that include the training and development of parents to act as evaluators and researchers.

NESS also acts as a repository for Sure Start Local Programmes Annual Reports and invests time in synthesising reports in order to examine how programmes are undertaking evaluation and what they are finding as a result of such efforts. A range of reports has been examined to define the extent that parents have been involved in evaluation practice. This has been supplemented with knowledge from the field gained in NESS support activity to Sure Start Local Programmes. This presentation will provide insight into the results focusing on the degrees of participation by parents, including those parents who have been traditionally hard to engage, in evaluation of services as indicated by reports and other outputs from programmes that adopt this approach. The presentation will also highlight and promote discussion about the benefits of such involvement as well as some barriers to full inclusion in the research process.

Sure Start is committed to involving parents in all aspects of programme delivery and decision-making. Participation in Evaluation is one further positive contribution to the ethos inclusivity promoted by the Sure Start Unit at the Dfes.

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