local government
primary & secondary education
voluntary sector

Raising Standards of Early Years Provision and Care

local government

primary & secondary education

voluntary sector

08:45 - 15:40

Tuesday 5 March 2019

Hallam Conference Centre, Central London

This Forum provides an opportunity for participants to understand how to provide outstanding early years teaching and learning amid the current workforce and funding challenges facing the sector. Attendees will examine how the landscape of early years provision has changed following the 2017 Early Years Workforce Strategy, the rollout of 30 Free Childcare and recent funding announcements by the Department for Education. Delegates will also explore best practice case studies that demonstrate success in raising attainment and providing high quality levels teaching and learning.


This Forum is specifically designed for the Early Years Education Sector and Local Authorities.

Typical job titles include:

  • Headteachers
  • Assistant Headteachers
  • Nursery Managers
  • Heads & Directors of Early Years
  • Early Years Leaders
  • Foundation Stage Leaders
  • Directors of Children’s Services

This Forum is also open to Charities and the Private Sector to encourage and foster debate.

Key Speakers Confirmed:
  • Stella Ziolkowski, Director of Quality and Training, National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA)
  • Ivana La Valle, Co-Author, Evaluation of Early Rollout of 30 Hours Free Childcare and Research Consultant and Visiting Scholar, University of East London
  • Sarah Read, Acting Head of Early Years, Action for Children
  • Sue Meekings, Vice Chair, Professional Association for ChildCare & Early Years (PACEY)
  • Professor Leon Feinstein, Director of Evidence, Children’s Commissioner for England
View the agenda and additional speakers

According to a 2017 TUC report, since 2008, the cost of Early Years care provision has rocketed. In some parts of the country, costs have risen at seven times the rate of wages. The 2018 Save the Children A Fair Start publication reports that the subsequent squeeze on Early Years providers and depletion of qualified staff has left 325,000 children at risk of not fulfilling their potential. Nursery closures across England have risen by 66% since the government’s 30 hours ‘free’ childcare policy was introduced one year ago. Some 121 nurseries have closed in that time, representing 5,000 children and families and hundreds of qualified staff.

The government has however, increased Early Years spending to £5.77 billion for the first time in three years through the extension of free childcare allowance from 15 to 30 hours for three and four year olds. In the longer term, the December 2016 Early Years National Funding Formula will go into full effect by 2019/20.

To upskill the Early Years workforce, The Department for Education (DfE) released the 2017 Early Years Workforce Strategy that emphasises child safety, joint-working with parents and inclusive practice for children with SEN. More specifically £20 million has been earmarked for training and professional development for staff working in disadvantaged areas to support children’s early speech and language development. Most recently in September 2018, a School Nurseries Capital Fund of £30 million has been announced to invite leading schools to come forward with projects to create new high-quality nursery places for disadvantaged children.

With providers stretched, Ofsted, now in sole charge of the inspection process as of April 2017, have published a 2018 Early Years Compliance Handbook. This will ensure that through strong safeguarding practice the impressive 94% of providers that are awarded ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ ratings are sustained.

Given the high-level output of Early Years education, it has been identified as the cornerstone of social mobility in the government’s new strategy to improve social mobility through education, Unlocking Talent, Fulfilling Potential.

If Early Years providers are to maintain these high standards in a sustainable manner and are to support social mobility then they must learn from one another to enhance their financial resilience and maximise the opportunities presented by the Early Years Workforce Strategy. Local authorities, nurseries and children’s centres must now work together to ensure that funding allocated translates into continuous improvement for early years provision standards.


Registration, Refreshments and Networking


Chair’s Welcome Address

Professor Leon Feinstein, Director of Evidence, Children’s Commissioner for England (CONFIRMED)


Morning Keynote: The Future of Early Years Provision - Opportunities and Obstacles

  • Findings from the APPG inquiry on financial sustainability of the childcare and early years educations sector
  • Considering the impact of financial pressures on early years providers and how this relates to the quality of teaching and learning
  • Reviewing the income threshold at which families are eligible to benefit from the rollout and how targeted the scheme is and should be
  • Considering ways in which to increase family uptake and to facilitate improved access
  • Understanding the benefits of providers working in partnership to support the delivery of the extended hours
  • Re-evaluating the financial support that early years providers require to compensate for taking on beneficiaries of the rollout

Ruth George, Member, APPG Childcare and Early Education (CONFIRMED)


Special Keynote: Raising Standards By Upskilling the Early Years Workforce

  • How far has the March 2017 Early Years Workforce Strategy addressed the short and long-term recruitment and retention challenges in early years
  • Reversing the workforce exodus: Addressing the principal causes by investing in training to upskill staff and offer long-term career pathways
  • Understanding how to acquire and maximise the impact of £20 million in funding for training and professional development in disadvantaged areas
  • Examining the implications of a depleted workforce and preventing a reduction in capacity to deliver high quality early years provision
  • Assessing how to attract more men to the Early Years workforce: The link between a diverse workforce raising standards

Stella Ziolkowski, Director of Quality and Training, National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA) (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Refreshments and Networking


Case Study: Tempering High Quality Early Years Provision with Financial Sustainability

  • Running nurseries in disadvantaged areas as the largest provider of the free two-year-old childcare offer in London
  • Subsidising parents to access free nursery places: Exploring the financial sustainability
  • Deploying social investment to develop a cross-subsidy business model whereby profitable nurseries in affluent areas subsidise community nurseries in deprived parts of London
  • Exploring how this business model can be replicated
  • Providing high quality teaching that increases the child’s readiness for school while enabling parents to return to work

June O’Sullivan MBE, Chief Executive, London Early Years Foundation (LEYF) (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: How Strong Leadership Can Deliver Quality Early Years Teaching & Learning

  • Focusing on the growth and development of a child’s wellbeing by fostering positive relationships within the outdoors
  • Understanding the value of relationships: Taking a dedicated stance towards nurturing professional relationships to ensure that leadership of people impacts directly and positively on quality of learning
  • Demonstrating how strong relationships with children and amongst staff enhances retention rates and allows for the development of award-winning early years teaching
  • Instilling Nature to Nurture’s core values (Nurturance, Commitment, Dedication, Honesty and Teamwork) into every aspect of the organisation

Julie White, Founder, Nature to Nurture (CONFIRMED)

Winner of Nursery World’s Pre-School of the Year 2017 & 2018


Questions and Answers Session


Lunch and Networking


Afternoon Keynote: Enhancing Social Mobility Through Quality Early Years Teaching

  • Understanding and deploying the evidence of the paramount importance of development and environment for children between the ages of 0 to 3
  • Acknowledging early years teaching and learning as fundamental in adequately preparing children for primary school education
  • Drawing attention to the value of child safety, joint-working with parents and inclusive practice particularly when caring for children with SEND
  • Highlighting the alarming trend of introducing or increasing additional charges – and, in some cases, prioritising places for those families able to pay for extras to offset financial constraints
  • Revising eligibility criteria to benefit children and families most in need

Michael Freeston, Director of Quality Improvement, Pre School Learning Alliance  (CONFIRMED)


Interactive Panel Discussion: How to Ensure High Quality Sustainable Early Years Provision - Overcoming Obstacles

  • What are the unintended consequences of the 30 hours free childcare roll-out? What can be done to address them?
  • How can recruitment and retention in the Early Years workforce be improved?
  • How can the National Funding Formula better translate into outstanding Early Years outcomes?
  • How can we ensure that families with the very greatest needs are the ones to benefit from early years provision? What would a more accessible Early Years provision system look like?
  • Considering the merits of increased Early Years student assessment

Ivana La Valle, Co-Author, Evaluation of Early Rollout of 30 Hours Free Childcare and Research Consultant and Visiting Scholar, University of East London (CONFIRMED)
Sue Meekings, Vice Chair, Professional Association for ChildCare & Early Years (PACEY) (CONFIRMED)
Sarah Read, Acting Head of Early Years, Action for Children (CONFIRMED)
Sandra Beard, Children Services’ Financial Advisory Network, CIPFA (invited)


Refreshments and Networking


Case Study: Improving Children’s Attainment Through Intergenerational Learning

  • A look at United for All Ages’ new report recommends all nurseries and schools link with care homes to improve children’s educational attainment.
  • Wider social implications of younger and older generations partnering together
  • Examining the results show that children involved in intergenerational projects have better reading and communication skills
  • Real-life examples from projects including the UK’s first intergenerational nursery, Apples and Honey Nightingale in Wandsworth, London and Little Wrens, which is co-located with a Wren Hall Nursing Home

Denise Burke, Founder, United for All Ages (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Delivering Outstanding Early Years Provision and Outcomes

  • Providing an award-winning holistic, educational and healthy home from home setting for young children in which to develop and prosper
  • Establishing a framework for regular monitoring of staff and for child protection concerns with a view to updating practice and maintaining high standards of care
  • Fostering highly successful partnerships with parents by involving parents in children’s learning by for example providing well planned activity packs for parents to borrow and take home
  • Building on spontaneous learning, for example, when picking flowers, flowers are used to make a nutritious drink and the recipe for that drink is sent to parents

Dr Pat Beckley, Senior Lecturer, Bishop Grosseteste University and Author, The Philosophy and Practice of Outstanding Early Years Provision (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Chair’s Summary and Close

*programme subject to change


You May Also Like