Westminster Education Forum

Child development from birth to starting school - next steps for support, policy and practice in England

Morning, Tuesday, 2nd April 2019

Central London


This seminar will examine priorities for supporting child development from birth to starting formal education - focusing on meeting the needs of families, developing cognitive skills and literacy, and next steps for multi-agency working and early intervention.

Delegates will look at how stakeholders can work to secure improvement in the learning environment at home, in the interests of encouraging child development prior to school.

This will include what further support is needed to improve outreach to parents from disadvantaged backgrounds. It comes as Government commits £18m in funding for disadvantaged families to nurture children’s development at home, increase parents confidence and improve children’s early language and literacy skills.

Attendees will also assess the practical steps needed to secure improvements across the board in the speech, language, communication and cognitive skills early in a child’s development - and identify need early on.

We expect discussion to draw on the trialing of revised Early Learning goals by the Department for Education last Autumn, which saw some changes to key overall goals in the areas of literacy, and communication and language.

Delegates will consider in this context how an effective multi-agency approach to child development and supporting parents can be developed, building on current provision of progress checks at different stages of a child’s initial years.

The policy priorities within this area, and what is needed to create positive transformational change within the sector will also be considered.

This includes:

  • A review of the support available to families in the period from childbirth to age two - the first 1001 days - which has been set up by government;
  • The Education Select Committee inquiry into the impact of early years education on determining a child’s life chances; and
  • The inquiry by the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee which looked at evidence-based early intervention, including the strength of evidence linking adverse childhood experiences with long-term negative outcomes and calling for an early intervention strategy to be implemented in England.

Further sessions will look at the transition to school of young children, and how nurseries and schools can better collaborate.

It takes place in the context of changes to the EYFS profile, with expected discussion focussing on its impact and how best practice within the new profile framework can be encouraged and spread throughout nurseries and schools.

Keynote Speaker

Rt Hon Norman Lamb MP

Chair, House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee

Keynote Speakers

Rt Hon Norman Lamb MP

Chair, House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee

Senior speaker confirmed from the Department for Education


Earl of Listowel

Treasurer, All-Party Parliamentary Group for Children

Rt Hon the Baroness Butler-Sloss

former President, Family Division, High Court (1999-2005)


Sarah McMullen

Head of Knowledge, National Childbirth Trust

Jan Dubiel

Head of National and International Development, Early Excellence

Katie Fulford

Director of Special Projects, Harper Collins

Jonathan Douglas

Director, National Literacy Trust

Michael Freeston

Director of Quality Improvement, The Early Years Alliance

Bob Reitemeier

Chief Executive, I CAN

Professor James Law

Professor of Speech & Language Sciences, Newcastle University

Jonathan Broadbery

Head of Policy & External Relations, National Day Nurseries Association