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A Blueprint for Early Education & Care: Labour Party Conference 2023

Key takeaways from the 2023 Labour Party Conference.

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We were pleased to be invited by the National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA) to join the Labour Party Conference in Liverpool between 8th and 11th October 2023.

Following a successful panel discussion at the Conservative Party Conference on 2nd October, NDNA held another debate on 10th October ahead of the launch of its new policy platform, A Blueprint for Early Education and Care, which was written following a series of roundtables that we were proud to support, which involved many leading voices and organisations in the early years sector as well as the wider policy and academic community.

Chaired by Abby Jitendra (Principal Policy Advisor, Joseph Rowntree Foundation), this latest panel included key speakers; Purnima Tanuku OBE (Chief Executive, National Day Nurseries Association), Helen Hayes MP (Shadow Minister for Children and the Early Years), Joanne McCartney AM (Deputy Mayor for Children and Families, the Greater London Authority) and Martin McTague (National Chair, Federation of Small Businesses)

The discussion began with introductory words from Abby Jitendra and a screening of NDNA’s short film, First Five Years Count.

Purnima Tanuku stressed the need to reframe our perspective on the early years as a phase of education - to the benefit of the child first and foremost. The economic activity of parents is far from unimportant, but with a growing body of literature giving importance to brain plasticity in under-fives, we must recognise that we are moulding the minds of the next generation.

Once we recognise this importance, it becomes vital to uphold the infrastructure and funding. Early years providers need support, particularly in the cost-of-living crisis; fostering their growth and success so that we can then provide a consistent level of universal provision to all children. She concluded by saying that, if we are to recognise the importance of the early years, we must also recognise the importance of the early years workforce to deliver education and care. They deserve greater training, career progression, and fair regulation to foster sustainability and high-quality provision.

Helen Hayes MP talked about the perception of the biggest issues facing early education providers today. She also touched on the Labour Party policy on early education and care, and how it will form a ‘core mission’ approaching the next general election.

Joanne McCartney discussed her work as Deputy Mayor for Children and Families, and what she had learned from her interactions with early years providers in London. She has a particular focus on reducing inequalities for children and families, and on improving child health outcomes – and how the early years sector can help with this.

The final speaker, Martin McTague, spoke about the most common issues currently facing small businesses, and how these are impacting early education providers specifically, as well as the Federation of Small Businesses’ research into early years provision.

The panel concluded with a Q&A with some insightful questions from the audience.

It was a brilliant, perceptive event that shone a light on the sector and its future. We look forward to the official London launch of NDNA’s Blueprint for Early Education and Care on 17th October. For more about the report, please contact:

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