Sure Start is a programme targeted at parents and children under the age of four living in the most disadvantaged areas.

Sure Start projects deliver a wide variety of services which are designed to support children’s learning skills, health and well-being, and social and emotional development.

Key Sure Start Statistics

Infographics containing key Sure Start statistical data may be accessed via the link below.

Sure Start partnerships information

Follow the links below to the nidirect website where information is published on the services that Sure Start partnerships provide and also lists of the Sure Start partnerships.


Circular 2017/10 - School Census - Sure Start Data Collection 2017/18 supersedes DE circular number 2015/20 providing updated information and highlighting the requirement and context for schools to record data electronically, utilising the C2k School Information Management System (SIMS), relating to Sure Start as part of annual school census data collection exercises.

Review of Sure Start

ETI Sure Start Evaluation Report May 2018

The ETI carried out an evaluation of Sure Start between January and March 2018.  The focus of the evaluation was linked directly to one of the expected policy outcomes and a key aim of Sure Start projects, namely the improvement of children’s language skills.

ETI Sure Start Evaluation Report June 2019

The ETI conducted a further evaluation of Sure Start in 2019.  The key themes are how children and parents are supported to develop speech, language and communication skills, the quality of support for parents, the development of the home learning environment and partnerships working between Sure Start projects and pre-school settings.

ETI Sure Start Evaluation Report February 2020

Evaluation of Improving Practice in Sure Start

This evaluation focuses on how Sure Start projects use self-evaluation to bring about improvement in the quality of provision and outcomes for children and parents. It builds on the two previous evaluations of Sure Start by the ETI.

ETI Sure Start Evaluation Report February 2020 (PDF document opens in a new window)

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