Early childhood education and care: the missing partner

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APPG Conception to the Age of Two Invited Submission 10th October 2016 Early Childhood Education and Care: The Missing Partner Dr Eunice Lumsden The University of Northampton Response to Implementing Recommendation Two (Building Great Britons) Require local authorities, CCGs and Health & Wellbeing Boards to prioritise all factors leading to the development of socially and emotionally capable children at age 2, by: adopting and implementing a ‘1001-days’ strategy, and showing how they intend to implement it in collaboration with their partner agencies, within 5 years. The ‘1001-days’ strategies should be based on primary preventive principles, with particular emphasis on fostering mental/emotional wellbeing and secure attachment, and preventing child maltreatment. Thank you very much for inviting me to talk to you all today. The four key points I would like to make during the presentation are: 1. We need to change the way we work at every level if the 1001Critical Days recommendations are to be realized. 2. There needs to be a holistic approach to young children's health, wellbeing, early learning and welfare that supports an integrated approach. 3. The Health and Wellbeing Boards need to include specific early childhood experts on their boards. 4. There needs to be an infrastructure approach to funding for early childhood that stops the continual policy changes at a national and local level and drives an integrated policy approach to the first 1001 days and beyond. Starting on a high note Northamptonshire Health and Wellbeing Board have just published their strategic plan for 2016-2020. Prevention, early intervention and early diagnosis will begin from conception, with holistic support throughout the 1001 Critical Days (p.12). Some Important Points for Clarification Since the middle 1990’s there has been a substantial shift in the academic field of Early Childhood Studies. It is now recognised as the interdisciplinary academic study of the period 0 (conception) to eight and has its own academic benchmark Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) is focused on practice in the early years sector This presentation draws upon my experience: 1. As a Social Worker mainly in child maltreatment, foster, adoption and court work. 2. In academia engaged in the development of the academic field of early childhood studies 3. Workforce reform in the ECEC sector. All three are intrinsically intertwined. What are the Barriers to systemic change? Separatist development of professions Education and Health and Social Care separated at national and local level Yet early childhood, especially ‘very early childhood’ is the one period in the life course where so many professions come together to support young children and their families. Despite millions of pounds of Government money invest in early years since 1997 ECEC often seen as ‘childcare’ to support working parents, still seen as ‘women’s work’ (98% Female). Even though there is statement after statement at a policy level about the importance of the early years- this sector have not become equal partners. This needs to change. There are excellent examples of practice eg Everton in Liverpool, Penn Green Corby, Camrose Northampton, Croyland, Wellingborough (The latter two have been severely hit by changes to Children Centre delivery). Untapped Strength in England The ECEC workforce has undergone major workforce reform. The quality of provision across England has improved. 80% of setting now ‘Good or Outstanding’ (OFsted 2015) but still not narrowing the educational gap for children. The Foundation Degree in Early Years has transformed lives – children’s, parents and the practitioners themselves. The Early Childhood Studies degree is now established at universities across the UK, providing an excellent foundation for future careers in services for children and families and we now have a new professional EARLY YEARS TEACHER (0-5) (Formerly Early Years Professional). There professional standards, skills, knowledge and unique positioning with babies, young children and families have so much to bring to improving lifelong outcomes. There is a growing workforce who are supporting the transformation of babies and young children’s lives, yet they are barely recognised let alone celebrated. They have a vital role not only in early learning but in the health and wellbeing of future generations, yet when you look at the Health and Wellbeing Boards, our early years colleagues are invisible. Professional Perspective The campaign by the APPG about the vital importance of the first 1001 has done immeasurable good. I see the impact it has had with professionals breathing a sigh of relief that the importance of the first 1001 days has been recognised. There are numerous policy agendas at present that are responding rather than preventing. The time is right now for truly ‘join-up the dots’ so that we can join up the dots for children. We have an ECEC workforce who are ready and willing. What Next I urge the APPG to continue to push for a Minister with overall responsibility for Early Childhood. However with new Ministers in place and new roles assigned the APPG has a vital role in bringing together the key Ministers from the Department of Education and Health to support their understanding of the academic field of Early Childhood and the importance of joining up health, wellbeing, welfare and early learning agendas…why.. There are numerous strategies—The Health and Wellbeing Boards are one example. BUT…There does not appear to be an overriding ownership of how they work together or not for our youngest children: Early Years premium approx. 53p per hour to improve disadvantaged young children’s long term educational outcomes, a therapist supporting an adoption family to £100-200 per hour. Thank you for listening. Dr Eunice Lumsden 10th October 2016
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 10 Oct 2016
EventAll Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Conception to Age Two: the First 1001 Days - Westminster, London
Duration: 10 Oct 2016 → …


OtherAll Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Conception to Age Two: the First 1001 Days
Period10/10/16 → …


  • 1001 Critical days
  • ECEC
  • holistic approach
  • infant mental health
  • early years


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