The Early Years Blog

I operate in two worlds; early years and social enterprise. Every now and then they converge, and I find myself invited to a most unusual or unexpected event. That happened on Saturday when I was invited to join a lively panel in the Economics Tent of the Big Tent Festival at Mudshute Farm. I had...

While Boris and his Cabinet are figuring ways to extricate us from the European Union, (not Europe that will remain a continent no matter what!) my team have been to Spain to recruit Spanish staff. Why on earth? Because the recruitment challenge shows no sign of easing up. What are we facing? The...

Last week, I had a panicky phone call from my friend Alice Sharp asking me to get on Twitter and read about the Channel 4 programme which proposes using a dog trainer to help parents manage their babies and toddlers. This has caused outrage from many. Nursery World Magazine ran a piece on it which...

I recently found a letter I had written in 2014 to the London boroughs arguing that if we were serious about stemming childhood obesity we needed to work together to support children grow up to lead long, healthy and independent lives and be able to play as full a role in society as possible. At the...

There is no poverty in the UK I hear you cry. Really? Let's start by looking at what we mean by poverty and the statistics. There is currently no formal UK-wide measure of poverty, but experts such as the Social Metrics Commission set the threshold as 55 per cent of the median total available resources...

It was the longest and largest consultation Ofsted has ever undertaken (four months with 100 focus groups and 250 pilots across the sector) and consequently 15,000 people replied. Lesson to Ofsted, and the DfE may listen, but if you really want our views; give it enough time, be visible, share the information...

The debate about what is education continues unabated. The DfE annoyed and baffled many last month when they announced that they did not advocate using the word learning because it is a weak term; they want to use the term attainment instead. Whatever happened to lifelong learning? Learning not to...

Last week, one of our nurseries curated a pop-up art exhibition at a central London venue. The art which was auctioned by the manager surprised him enormously as it raised £300 which will be used to fund a woodwork bench and some baby equipment.  I observed the evening through the lens of cultural...

Many will have watched the Extinction Rebellion unfolding on the streets of Westminster with probably a mixture of bemusement, support and irritation. In the last week, I have experienced all three of these emotions - as someone working in Westminster I have to trudge wearily from place to place, held...

To be honest, cultural capital is not the usual conversation piece. But it is both a conscious and unconscious part of our everyday lives. Now that Ofsted has introduced the concept into the new Education Inspection Framework it will become more conscious for many people. In 2011, I started to investigate...