Key issues for early years - funding, building workforce capacity and extending free childcare

Location: Central London
Organiser: Westminster Education Forum

This timely seminar will bring together policymakers with stakeholders from across the early years sector, as well as local and central government, to discuss key issues for early years education as preparations are made for the extension of free childcare for three and four year-olds from 15 to 30 hours a week to be rolled out nationally from September 2017. 

It will provide an opportunity to consider the implications of changes to funding for 3- and 4-year-olds in light of the Government’s response to its consultation on early years funding, which announced a minimum hourly rate and confirmed that 20% of local authorities will see a decrease in funding. 

Attendees will also discuss the implementation so far and lessons that could be learnt from the Government’s provision of 15 hours of free childcare a week for 3-4 year olds and disadvantaged 2 year olds, as well as the from the series of pilot schemes which began trialling the extended childcare offer from September 2016. They will also consider issues around increasing accessibility, and making childcare and early years provision more inclusive, for SEND children including findings from the selected ‘early innovator’ councils focusing on this area. 

Further sessions will assess Ofsted’s plans to bring early years inspections in-house from April 2017, including how this is likely to work in practice and potential implementation issues going forward. They will also discuss ongoing concerns surrounding the early years workforce, including improving capacity, recruitment and retention, in light of a reported further delay to the Government’s early years workforce strategy.

We are delighted that Alex Magloire, Senior Manager, Early Education and Policy, Ofsted; Dr Andy Fisher, Audit Manager, National Audit Office and Neil Leitch, Chief Executive, Pre-School Learning Alliance have agreed to deliver keynote addresses at this seminar.

Joanne Elsey, Head of Early Years and Director of Early Years Teacher Status Programmes, Institute of Education, University of Reading; Laura Henry, Managing Director, Laura Henry Consultancy; Julie Hyde, Executive Director, Business Development, Council for Awards in Care, Health and Education (CACHE); Susanna Kalitowski, Policy and Research Manager, Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years (PACEY); Tracey Messer, Service Manager, Childcare Development, Hampshire County Council; Barbara Morton, Childminder Agency Officer, Leap Ahead; June O’Sullivan, Chief Executive, London Early Years Foundation; Sally Panayiotou, Director, Policy Research Team, Kantar Public; Dr Gillian Paull, Senior Associate, Frontier Economics; Judy Shaw, Chair, NAHT Early Years Sector Council and Headteacher, Tuel Lane Infant School, West Yorkshire and Councillor Neill Young, Cabinet Member for Education, Portsmouth City Council have also agreed to speak.

Rt Rev the Lord Bishop of Durham, Co-Vice Chair, All-Party Parliamentary Group on Parents and Families has kindly agreed to chair part of this seminar. is an online service designed to support and encourage parents and carers of children aged 5-19, with a collection of videos addressing day-to-day questions and concerns spanning wellbeing, behaviour and learning.