The Early Years Blog

I have been an advocate for nursery chefs for a very long time. A good chef is part of the team. They know the children and get great pleasure from providing the children with tasty meals as well as other activities. That's why we wrote the Level 2 Professional Cooking, a programme that is accredited...

While dusting the other day, in true Mrs Beeton fashion, I came across my recent trophy for the NMT Award, "Most Influential Person in Early Years 2017". I decided there and then that if I was to be so honoured I probably did need to think about what I could influence and what I would like to influence....

Last week, I chaired a roundtable with policy advisers, local authorities, council organisations and child poverty campaigners about the implementation of the 30 Hours and the challenge of getting the right staff. The following day I joined NMT chaired by Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Pre-school...

It was an interesting start to a short week. A Tuesday morning visit from Jeremy Corbyn. It may sound a bit grandiose when I say that I have met two previous leaders during an election campaign, both of whom became Prime Ministers. I don't know what this means for Mr Corbyn! His visit resulted in...

A previous election manifesto addition was to promise parents 30 hours of free childcare. This is an annual increase from 570 to 1140 hours, whether 30 hours term time or 22 hours stretched across 51 weeks of the year. If you are one of the many parents struggling to pay for childcare, "free" is an overstatement...

The election fever has begun. Well, less of a fever and more of a virus at the moment. The manifesto writers are busy locked in a darkened room trying to shape their political parties' ideas and offers. According to the media and political pundits the main subject of the election is Brexit but a general...

Like many of you, we spent a fair few hours on the motorway en route to the country for the Easter Weekend. It's a time to catch up on playing forgotten, new or favourite music. However, our car has a CD system known as Touchy that decides what it wants to play. If Touchy dislikes the CD she refuses...

In 2005, three LEYF nurseries were involved in the Edgeware Road bombings. I still remember it but the strongest memories that stay with me were of the kindness of people, the concern of parents bringing food and blankets for the staff who stayed late into the night and the letter I received from Ken...

Last week, I spent a morning with staff from two nurseries talking about pedagogy. Kindness and what it means was central to the discussion on social and emotional wellbeing. It's quite the topic of the month with the Duchess of Cambridge saying it was more important to be kind and compassionate than...

I recently read a piece about the growth of artificial intelligence and the impact it will have on existing jobs, whether the driverless car or the extension of computer controlled decision-making. I can't understand the rush into such an inhumane world.  Why do we want more automated services, more...