Westminster Education Forum

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Next steps for childcare and early years provision in England

priorities for the new Government | extended childcare support scheme | meeting increased demand | funding & investment | place availability, accessibility & affordability | recruitment & training

Morning, Tuesday, 16th July 2024

Online


This conference will examine next steps for childcare and early years provision in England.


It will be a timely opportunity for stakeholders and policymakers to discuss priorities for the new Government, following pledges to create 100,000 additional childcare places and more than 3,000 new nurseries, and with Labour’s Early Years Review looking at the expansion of early entitlement offers, potential reform to the early years workforce and how to address concerns surrounding the availability of childcare places.


It takes place following the rollout of additional free childcare hours for working parents of two year-olds, increased government funding for local authorities and early years providers from April 2024, and DfE’s public consultation on improving childminder recruitment and retention which closed prior to the General Election.


Area for discussion include:

  • assessing delivery of the extended childcare support scheme, looking at childcare providers’ capacity to meet the increase in demand, and the impact of the ratio increase in the number of children looked after by staff in early years settings
  • key findings from the NAO’s report on DfE preparations to extend childcare entitlements, which found that DfE had decided to move forward without running tests on the market, and recommended that they continuously review the expansion due to concerns over place numbers and staffing
  • examining the quality of childcare provision, including through wraparound childcare support, and the way forward for teaching standards and specialist training to support SEND and disadvantaged children in the early years
  • priorities for meeting current and future childcare workforce demands, attracting and retaining a diverse workforce, supporting staff, and training and CPD opportunities
  • ways in which business can support the sector, and recommendations from the Business Taskforce for Early Childhood launched by the Princess of Wales
  • long-term sustainable funding and investment models, and how wider barriers faced by parents and carers in accessing childcare support can be tackled going forward

We are also pleased to be able to include keynote sessions with: Emma Wilson, Director, Education Value for Money Team, National Audit Office; Stéphanie Jamet, Senior Analyst, OECD Directorate for Education and Skills; Neil Leitch, Chief Executive, Early Years Alliance; and Tony McAleavy, Education Director, Education Development Trust.


The conference will be an opportunity for stakeholders to consider the issues alongside key policy officials who are due to attend from DfE; IfATE; Ofsted; DHSC; and the Welsh Government.


The proceedings of the conference will be circulated more widely, to Parliamentarians, ministerial offices, and government and regulatory officials with an interest in the issues being discussed. All delegates will also receive a video recording of the conference.



Keynote Speakers

Neil Leitch

Chief Executive, Early Years Alliance

Emma Wilson

Director, Education Value for Money Team, National Audit Office

Tony McAleavy

Education Director, Education Development Trust

Stéphanie Jamet

Senior Analyst, OECD Directorate for Education and Skills

Keynote Speakers

Stéphanie Jamet

Senior Analyst, OECD Directorate for Education and Skills

Neil Leitch

Chief Executive, Early Years Alliance

Emma Wilson

Director, Education Value for Money Team, National Audit Office

Tony McAleavy

Education Director, Education Development Trust

Chairs

Nahid Mortuza

Head of Education and Early Years, Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education

Lord Watson of Invergowrie

Speakers

Professor Verity Campbell-Barr

Professor in Early Childhood Education, and Director, Plymouth Institute of Education

Helen Donohoe

Chief Executive, Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years (PACEY)

Tracy Jackson

Head of Early Years, National Literacy Trust

Lydia Hodges

Head of Coram Family and Childcare

Sarah Ronan

Director, Early Education and Childcare Coalition

Councillor Wendy Meikle

Cabinet Member, Children, Families and Education, Stockport Council

Gill Jones

Group Chief Quality Officer and Safeguarding Lead, Busy Bees Nurseries

Emma Gardner

National Lead, Operations and Quality, Early Years and Childcare, Action for Children

Preeti Patel

Director of Education and Community, Montessori Global Education

June O’Sullivan

Chief Executive Officer, London Early Years Foundation

Julie Hyde

Director, External and Regulatory Affairs, NCFE