Westminster Education Forum

Conferences that are scheduled to take place before September will be conducted online.
The format will mirror physical conferences organised by the Forum with speakers presenting via webcam, accompanied by slides if they wish.
The conferences will be chaired and there will be opportunities for delegate questions and comments.
We will be contacting all participants in advance of each conference with full information and guidance on how to take part.
There will be some exceptions where conferences will be postponed, for instance those that would largely involve key stakeholders in the NHS or emergency services.
All participants affected by this will be informed as soon as possible.
If you’d like to speak to us over the phone about any booking-related queries, please call one of the following numbers: +44 (0)7951044809 / +44 (0)7538736244

Child development in the first years of life - parental support and engagement, coordinating health and education provision, and priorities for policy

Morning, Tuesday, 21st April 2020


This conference focuses on policy priorities for supporting child development in the first years of life - including health and wellbeing, early communication skills, and parental engagement - and will bring out case studies in innovative practice.

Areas for discussion include:

  • How the commissioning and coordination of health services for children in the early stages of life can be improved;
  • The impact of government measures to support children from disadvantaged families in the early years; and
  • Priorities and approaches to the development of early child literacy and communication skills.

It takes place against the backdrop of key policy developments, including:

Speakers and case studies

There will be keynote contributions from:

  • Mark Parrett, Audit Manager, National Audit Office;
  • Fionnuala O'Reilly, Senior Advisor, The Behavioural Insights Team ; and
  • Professor Eva Lloyd, Professor of Early Childhood, University of East London.

Further confirmed speakers include: Dr Claudine Bowyer-Crane, University of York; Sally Carlton, South Acton Children’s Centre & Nursery; Dr Helen Crawley, First Steps Nutrition Trust; Jonathan Douglas, National Literacy Trust; Sally Hogg, Parent-Infant Foundation; Alison Morton, Institute of Health Visiting; and Kim Roberts, HENRY. 

The agenda

  • Child development in the first years of life - supporting children and parents;
  • Developing a coordinated approach to improving health in early years - reducing inequality, increasing engagement with health checks, and priorities for the sector and government;
  • Evaluating the impact of the free childcare entitlement - access and awareness;
  • Improving childcare and early education - assessing the Hungry Little Minds campaign, improving early literacy and communication skills, and supporting parental engagement; and
  • Next steps for child development policy.

Engagement with policy officials at this conference

Westminster Education Forum and Westminster Health Forum conferences typically attract strong interest from policymakers. This seminar will be an opportunity for stakeholders to engage with officials who have reserved places representing: the Department for Health and Social Care; Ofsted; and Government Legal Department.

Keynote Speakers

Fionnuala O'Reilly

Senior Advisor, The Behavioural Insights Team

Susie Owen

Deputy Director, Early Years and Childcare, Department for Education

Professor Eva Lloyd

Professor of Early Childhood, Cass School of Education and Communities, University of East London and Director, International Centre for the Study of the Mixed Economy of Childcare (ICMEC)

Mark Parrett

Audit Manager, National Audit Office


The Lord Bishop of Gloucester


Sally Carlton

Centre Practitioner, South Acton Children’s Centre & Nursery

Stephanie Douglas

Head of Intervention and Localities, Doncaster Borough Council

Kim Roberts

Chief Executive, HENRY

Jonathan Douglas

Chief Executive, National Literacy Trust

Dr Claudine Bowyer-Crane

Associate Research Director, National Institute of Economic and Social Research

Sally Hogg

Head of Policy and Campaigning, Parent-Infant Foundation

Dr Helen Crawley

Director, First Steps Nutrition Trust

Alison Morton

Director of Policy and Quality, Institute of Health Visiting