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NDNA’s ‘Blueprint for Early Education & Care’

On 17th October 2023, The National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA) launched its ‘Blueprint for Early Education and Care’ report which highlights recommendations for the future of early education and care in England.

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Image from launch event of NDNA's 'Blueprint for Early Education and Care' report

Image from the launch event. From left to right: Jane Heywood (Vice-Chair, NDNA), Purnima Tanuku (Chief Executive, NDNA), Professor Kathy Sylva (Oxford University), and Courteney Donaldson (Managing Director - Childcare & Education, Christie & Co).

“A lack of recognition and value for early education and care is one of the most significant hurdles to the sector’s recovery and future success.” - NDNA: A Blueprint for Early Education and Care – 2023

As we approach another general election, to ensure that the principles of quality, excellence and child-centricity are front of mind for our political leaders as they decide their policy platforms, NDNA (National Day Nurseries Association) created ‘A Blueprint for Early Education and Care’ which outlines recommendations for the improvement of the future of early education and care in England.

We were very proud to have supported this report by facilitating a series of round tables in the summer of 2023, which brought together key figures in the sector to discuss the purpose and quality of early education and care, funding and infrastructure, and workforce and regulation.

The findings of these roundtables led to the following recommendations, which underpin NDNA’s report:  

1. Launch a national commission into the future of early education and care.

2. Create a new policy framework for the early years that is child centric.

3. Change public perceptions on early years, by introducing government guidance for all publications to utilise the term ‘early education and care’ rather than just ‘childcare’ and introducing child development to the National Curriculum.

4. Create a comprehensive national dataset, encompassing education, health and social care for all children, to enable an individualised, consistent and holistic approach to child development.

5. Commission an independent annual review into the cost of delivering high quality early education and care.

6. Implement a system of universal, fully funded early education and care provision that supports all children, families and working parents, with more targeted support to those who most need it.

7. Remove Business Rates from all early education and care settings.

8. Create a sustainable workforce strategy for the early education and care sector to build resilience and provide professionals with the training and respect they deserve.

9. Revise the curriculum for all early education and care qualifications to ensure that these adequately address the specific needs of children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities.

10. Develop a regulatory system for the early education and care sector that is proportionate, effective and fit for purpose.

Courteney Donaldson, Managing Director – Childcare & Education at Christie & Co, comments, “At Christie & Co, we have worked closely with providers across the UK for decades, extending our reach in recent years to equally support providers and policy makers across the globe. The next government has the opportunity to set our nation apart, by creating a solutions-based strategy for the sector which has the potential to shape the outcomes for early years, for this generation and future generations. This report provides a comprehensive roadmap, and the beginning of solutions, for transforming early education and care. It also offers ministers and policymakers an opportunity to collaborate in forming a strategy that looks past the election cycle to create a framework with a longer-term time frame that can improve future generations outcomes. It also facilitates the opportunity for all stakeholders, from policymakers to practitioners, to embrace these recommendations and work together to create a more inclusive, equitable, and high-quality early years sector.

For the full ‘Blueprint for Early Education and Care’ report, which launched on 17 October 2023, click here.

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