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

Central London

This Forum provides an opportunity for participants to develop their understanding of recent early years education reforms that address the current workforce and funding challenges. Attendees will examine the implications of the 2017 Early Years Workforce Strategy and recent funding announcements by the Department for Education. Participants will also explore best practice case studies that are attaining high levels of success in the face of funding and workforce development challenges.


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

Typical job titles include:

  • Headteachers
  • Nursery Managers
  • SENCOs
  • Early Years Leaders
  • Foundation Stage Leaders
  • Heads of Early Years
  • Curriculum Managers
  • 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
View the agenda and additional speakers


Registration, Refreshments and Networking


Chair’s Welcome Address

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


Morning Keynote: Evaluating the Impact of the 30 Hours Free Childcare Rollout - Learning the Lessons

  • Outlining the findings of the August 2017 Evaluation of Early Rollout of 30 Hours Free Childcare report: Exploring the drivers and barriers to implementation
  • Reflecting on to what extent objectives have been achieved such as ‘the aim to help families by reducing the cost of childcare to support parents into work or to work more hours should they wish to do so’
  • 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 access
  • Understanding the benefits of providers working in partnership to support the delivery of the extended hours, especially those involving childminders and out-of-school clubs
  • Re-evaluating the financial support that early years providers require to compensate for taking on beneficiaries of the rollout

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)


Special Keynote: Driving Up Standards By Upskilling the Early Years Workforce

  • Evaluating the government’s March 2017 Early Years Workforce Strategy and how it can better address both short- and long-term recruitment and retention challenges
  • Reflecting how to reverse the workforce exodus: Addressing the principal causes by investing in training to upskill staff and offer long-term career pathways
  • Maximising the impact of £20 million in funding for training and professional development in disadvantaged areas
  • Examining the implications of a depleted workforce such as a reduction in capacity to deliver high Early Years provision standards
  • Assessing how to attract more men to the Early Years workforce – how does a diverse workforce raise standards of provision?

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


Questions and Answers Session


Refreshments and Networking


Case Study: Effectively Tempering Excellent Early Years Provision with Financial Sustainability

  • Running nurseries London’s most disadvantaged areas, subsidising parents to access free nursery places as the largest provider of the free two-year-old childcare offer in London
  • Deploying social investment to develop a cross-subsidy business model whereby profitable nurseries in affluent areas subsidise community nurseries in deprived parts of London
  • Enabling 48% of  children attending LEYF nurseries do so through subsidised places and thus building social cohesion by bringing children from all backgrounds together
  • Supporting family well-being through education 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: Demonstrating How Strong Leadership Can Deliver Inclusive Early Years Care Provision

  • Encouraging the growth and development of a child’s wellbeing by fostering positive relationships within the outdoors
  • Taking a dedicated stance towards nurturing professional relationships to ensure that leadership of people impacts directly and positively on quality
  • Demonstrating how strong relationships with children and amongst staff enhances retention rates and delivers award-winning early years provision
  • Instilling Nature to Nurture’s core values (Nurturance, Commitment, Dedication, Honesty and Teamwork) into every aspect of the organisation to give a sense of identity, purpose and pride to all involved

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: Making the Case for How Strong Early Years Provision Can Enhance Social Mobility

  • Understanding and deploying the evidence of the paramount importance of development and environment for children between the ages of 0 to 3
  • Identifying early years education and teaching as an opportunity to break the cycle of deprivation by building personal resilience and emotional wellbeing
  • Drawing attention to the value of child safety, joint-working with parents and inclusive practice particularly when caring for children with SEND
  • Addressing the challenges faced by less and lower quality childcare care provision for those living in disadvantaged areas
  • 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

Tulip Siddiq, Chair, APPG Childcare and Early Education (invited)
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: Working With Parents to Enhance Early Years Personal Development

  • Working with parents and professionals to arrange highly effective support for children and their families: Providing children with consistent experiences, especially at times of stress enabling children to continue to flourish and learn
  • Establishing strong parent-staff partnerships: Leading to a high proportion of parents contributing successfully to their children’s learning records
  • Sharing detailed information about children’s activities and achievements to build on children’s experiences and support all children in making progress from their starting points
  • Re-organising the use of the nursery building to make managers more accessible to parents

Rachel Jones, Founder and Chief Executive, Fit’ N Fun Kids’ (invited)


Case Study: Delivering Outstanding Early Years Provision and Outcomes

  • Driving standards up from ‘Requires Improvement’ to ‘Outstanding’ in just one year
  • Using leadership experience to develop a  clearly focused plan for the continued growth and development of Early Years provision
  • Placing a strong focus on self evaluation: Continually monitoring and improving teaching to target action for improvement
  • Establishing a thorough staff understanding of their responsibilities to protect children
  • Ensuring that recruitment and induction processes are robust to ensure staff are suitable and fully aware of their responsibilities

Pauline Parker, Childcare Manager, St George’s Childcare, Tunbridge Wells (invited)


Questions and Answers Session


Chair’s Summary and Close

*programme subject to change

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.

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