We did it! Our first early years event was last Friday morning and, having had the weekend to reflect, we are still completely blown away by the passion, talent and enthusiasm in the room. We owe a huge thank you to everyone who took part, whether as a speaker or a delegate (but especially our fabulous speakers) for making the event such a great success.
We covered a lot of topics, from the sector itself, through CIF, EYPP and 30 hours free childcare, to Special Educational Needs, Safeguarding and British Values – after all, the sector is dealing with a huge amount of change – but the overwhelming theme that emerged for us was the determination of the sector to keep meeting challenges and effecting change to benefit all the children in its care. To paraphrase the wonderful Professor Sonia Blandford, every child has greatness inside them and it’s up to us to help them find it and bring it out!
Our first speaker was Liz Bayram, Chief Executive of PACEY, who gave us a fascinating insight into the sector and its future, via PACEY’s Building Blocks survey. She tackled all the most pressing issues in the sector, from professional qualifications, through the fact that early years provision in new primary school proposals is now the norm, to the level of confidence childcare practitioners have in their business. Liz then shared PACEY’s vision for the future of early years childcare and the foundations needed to build it.
Professor Sonia Blandford, Founder and CEO of charity Achievement for All, then shared her enormous experience of making an impact for underprivileged children in her presentation, “High impact use of the EYPP”. With empathy and sensitivity, Sonia brought the challenges and her successes to life with evidence and real examples. She emphasised the importance of parent / carer engagement – children cannot succeed in academics without social and emotional support.
After a lively coffee break, it was time for the Q&A panel, where Liz and Sonia were joined by Sarah Mackenzie, Quality and Training Director for the Childbase Partnership, Debbie Alcock, Managing Director of Influential Childcare Training, and Mikki Parkes, Nursery Manager for Auden Place. The panel were insightful, honest and hugely knowledgeable across a wide range of topics, from EYPP, SEN, British Values and Safeguarding, to building an effective relationship with the relevant local authorities. We were really pleased and impressed by the questions coming from the audience.
The NurseryBook team absolutely loved the chance to catch up with so many of you and to observe the passion and dedication you bring to work every day. To quote Liz Bayram, early years has definitely been the Cinderella sector for too long (or to keep up-to-date with the kids, perhaps the misunderstood and underestimated Anna from Frozen!) The talent, determination and passion of so many in the sector means the volume of change and challenge will be tackled effectively and successfully, to the benefit of the children – and we are just privileged to be a part of it!