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This conference focused on the next steps for the early years and childcare sector in England.
With the statutory rollout of the updated early years foundation stage (EYFS) from September 2021, delegates assessed progress with implementation and lessons learnt - including:
- the impact on early literacy and numeracy levels, raising attainment, and ensuring children are reception-ready
- issues and best practice for creating an holistic curriculum
Delegates also discussed their priorities for the early years workforce, including the impact of the Government package to reduce the cost of childcare for parents, as well as considering how to improve the availability of childminders across England.
It was a timely opportunity to assess the findings of the Times Education Commission’s final report Bringing Out the Best, looking at how best to support the most disadvantaged pupils and families, and boost development through formal early years education.
Overall, areas for discussion included:
- resources - funding - provision of support for the sector moving forward
- pressure on families - impact of the rising cost of living - support for parents with the cost of childcare
- post-pandemic - priorities for mitigating the impact on children’s development - raising standards
- mental health - tackling concerns for children and staff
- inequalities - support for children and families from disadvantaged backgrounds - early years education to bolster social mobility
We are pleased to have been able to include keynote sessions with Neil Leitch, Chief Executive, Early Years Alliance; and Professor Chris Pascal, Director, Centre for Research in Early Childhood.
The conference was an opportunity for stakeholders to consider the issues alongside key policy officials who attended from the DfE; and the IfATE - as well as parliamentary pass-holders from the House of Commons.