10/2/2023 | Childcare & Education

Blueprint for Early Education & Care: Panel discussion

On 2nd October 2023, we joined the 2023 Conservative Party Conference to discuss the future of early years.


It was an honour to be invited by NDNA (National Day Nurseries Association) to join the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester on 2nd October, where our Managing Director – Childcare & Education, Courteney Donaldson, sat alongside other sector experts in a panel discussion on the future of early years.

The discussion began with introductory words from the Chair, Matilda Martin, and a screening of NDNA’s short film ‘First Five Years Count’, followed by talks from the Chief Executive of NDNA, Purnima Tanuku OBE, our Managing Director – Childcare & Education, Courteney Donaldson, and Head of Public Affairs at the Federation of Small Businesses, David Hale.

Purnima Tanuku discussed the key findings from NDNA’s upcoming report, ‘Building the Future: A Blueprint for Early Education and Care’, stating that we need to reframe our perspective on the early years as a phase of education - to the benefit of the child, first and foremost. 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 provide a consistent level of universal provision to all children. She also stressed the importance of the early years workforce in delivering quality education and care – these people deserve greater training, career progression, and fair regulation to foster sustainability and high-quality provision.

Courteney Donaldson went on to talk about the challenges that she has seen the early years sector face, and how these have evolved over her 24-year career in the sector. She shared the relationship between demand and supply in the sector.

David Hale discussed the impact of the current economic climate on small businesses and on early years providers, specifically, as well as previous FSB research into early years provision.

It was a brilliant, insightful event that shone a light on the sector and its future. Next week, on 10th October, we’ll be joining Purnima at the Labour Party Conference at The ACC Liverpool, and look forward to seeing you there. For more information on the event, please contact: ndna@connectpa.co.uk