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Political Parties Early Years Policies


DavidW
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With the impending hotting up of debate as we head towards an election, I have been exercised by thoughts of what policies our main political parties might hold with respect to Early Years care and education. I therefore contacted the Conservatives to ask them. Below is the trail of emails to date. I am none the wiser, as the trail appears to have gone cold. Does anyone else have any insight from Labour, Conservative, LibDem, Greens, Monster Raving Looney Party?

 

Email 1

 

Hello,

I am trying to identify the area within the Conservative Party responsible for policy formulation for the care and development of children in the Early Years – age 0 – 5 years. I would like to know something about your party’s policy in this area and spending plans relative to other services. For example, how is Early Years education assessed in importance relative to primary, secondary and tertiary education budget plans? Does the Conservative Party recognise the importance of investment in services for children at the earliest stage of life, as a means of developing a more healthy, productive and emotionally stable population, with the attendant reduction in later spending on social services, judiciary, policing, health services etc? In the current economic climate, where there will inevitably be planned priority areas of ring-fenced public spending and areas which may see a reduction in real spending terms, how does your party rank expenditure on Early Years.

 

Thank you, in anticipation for your assistance.

 

Reply 1

 

Dear David,

 

This comes under the auspices of ~David Willetts - willettsd@parliament.uk

 

Best wishes

 

Jamie

 

Jamie Martin

Office of Michael Gove MP

Shadow Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families

 

Email 2

 

Same again, but addressed to David Willetts

 

Reply 2

 

 

Thank you for your email to David Willetts MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Universities and Skills.

 

Early years issues are primarily the responsibility of Maria Miller MP, Shadow Minister for the Family, and Tim Loughton MP, Shadow Minister for Children. They would be best placed to answer your questions, so I would recommend that you write to either of them at:

 

House of Commons

London

SW1A 0AA

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Henry Cook

Office of David Willetts MP

 

Email 3

 

Dear Henry Cook,

Thank you for your reply. The reason I wrote to David Willetts, was in response to previous advice from your office. I find it slightly disturbing that the Conservative party is really not sure who has the responsibility for policy regarding Early Years Care and Education. And is there no email address for either of the MPs mentioned below?

 

As a voter and someone interested in policy in this area, particularly your party’s views, this is becoming quite a task trying to obtain some basic information from your party.

 

Thank you for your assistance

 

Reply 3

 

Thank you for your further email. It would have been helpful if you had mentioned in your original email your previous correspondence with this office.

 

The responsibility for early years in the Conservative Party is very clear. Maria Miller MP is responsible for early years education and childcare issues. Tim Loughton MP is responsible for children’s services, personal, social and health education, child welfare and social work. Mr Willetts is the Shadow Secretary of State for Universities and Skills (rather than Early Years) and has been given additional responsibility for developing broader family policy. This is why I suggested you contact either Maria Miller MP or Tim Loughton MP, as your concerns focus on their particular areas.

 

The parliamentary website provides contact details, including email addresses for MPs, at the following address: http://www.parliament.uk/mpslordsandoffice..._lords/alms.cfm

 

For your benefit, I have pasted here links to the pages for the MPs mentioned above: http://findyourmp.parliament.uk/constituencies/basingstoke and http://findyourmp.parliament.uk/constituen...ng-and-shoreham

 

Yours sincerely

 

Henry Cook

Office of David Willetts MP

 

Email 4

 

Dear Mrs Maria Miller,

 

I am trying to identify the area within the Conservative Party responsible for policy formulation for the care and development of children in the Early Years – age 0 – 5 years. I would like to know something about your party’s policy in this area and spending plans relative to other services. For example, how is Early Years education assessed in importance relative to primary, secondary and tertiary education budget plans? Does the Conservative Party recognise the importance of investment in services for children at the earliest stage of life, as a means of developing a more healthy, productive and emotionally stable population, with the attendant reduction in later spending on social services, judiciary, policing, health services etc? In the current economic climate, where there will inevitably be planned priority areas of ring-fenced public spending and areas which may see a reduction in real spending terms, how does your party rank expenditure on Early Years.

 

Thank you, in anticipation for your assistance.

 

Reply 4

 

David Willetts MP has forwaded me your email of 10th July 2009 regarding Conservative Party policy on early years.

 

Children’s early year’s experiences, particularly family life, lay the foundations which can shape the rest of their lives. A secure and happy childhood is critical. Therefore, strengthening family life is at the heart of David Cameron’s vision for Britain – David has said that we want to make Britain the most family-friendly country in the world.

 

We have already announced plans for how a Conservative Government will reintroduce a universal Health Visitor service. International evidence shows that when parents are supported by health professionals such as health visitors, their children are more like to be healthy, do well at school, find better jobs and stay out of crime. The money the Government has currently set aside for untrained ‘outreach workers’ will instead be used to provide an additional 4,200 trained Sure Start health visitors. This will give parents support in the crucial early years of their child’s life.

 

There is much more. We would extend the right to request flexible working to all parents with children under the age of 18 and introduce shared parental leave of 52 weeks, where mum and dad decide how they divide caring responsibilities. We would also recognise marriage in the tax and benefits system, as well as ending the couple penalty in the benefits system which encourages couples to live apart rather than together. We will do this by raising the Working Tax Credit for couples from £3,430 to £5,385 – an increase of up to £38 a week. The direct effect will be lift to 3000,000 children in two-parent families out of poverty.

 

The early years of a child’s life are fundamental. This is why we have a wealth of policies to support families to ensure children have the best start in life.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Maria Miller MP

cc. David Willetts MP

 

So family friendly, more health visitors, increase in Working Tax Credits but nothing really on Early Years care and education. Let's try again!

 

Email 5

 

Dear Maria Miller,

 

Thank you very much for this helpful information. If I may ask some more specific questions –

 

What is your party’s view of Early Years Professional Status for early years practitioners?

 

Are you planning to continue support for the Graduate Leader Fund?

 

What is your party’s policy with respect to the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum?

 

What role does your party see for the Childrens Workforce Development Council?

 

What plans do you have with regard to the 15 hours flexible childcare, currently funded for over 3s and proposals for funded sessions for over 2s?

 

Broadly speaking, what are your party’s plans regarding funding support for existing early years education spending relative to primary, secondary and tertiary sectors? Eg maintain current levels, reduce / increase amounts?

 

How does the Conservative Party view the early years childcare and education sector in the context of a family-friendly nation? and what does it see as the relative roles of state maintained, voluntary and private sector childcare provision?

 

I appreciate that these are quite technical and specific areas but I would appreciate some meat on the bones of your general policy statements as someone who is passionate about early years care and education. I would be very happy to discuss any of these points with you further, should you consider that appropriate, either in person or by phone. At this stage in our country’s development, I believe it is vital that the correct strategic decisions are made to shape the future of the current and successive generations.

 

Reply 5

Dear David,

 

Maria asked me to get in touch with you.

 

I wonder if you could let me know a little bit about your background in early years education and care?

 

Many thanks,

 

Ryan Shorthouse

Adviser to Maria Miller MP

Shadow Minister for the Family

020 7219 6311

07754 672233

 

Email 6

 

Ryan,

In partnership with my wife, I own and run 4 full daycare settings in Southampton, employing 58 individuals. I am qualified as an Early Years Professional, my wife has a BA in Early Years and is currently working towards EYPS. We have recently returned from the World Forum on Early Years in Belfast. I am advocate for Men in Childcare at both a national and international level. As professionals in this field, we believe in polices that support families but we also strongly support high quality childcare and early years development. We are both passionate about the need for excellence in the delivery of care and development services for children under 5. We believe that, as a nation, it is imperative we formulate and implement policies based on sound research and common sense, to nurture and develop successive generations of children from birth, in loving, stable and developmentally appropriate relationships and environments, to enable each individual to reach his/her potential to become mature, creative, responsible and productive members of our society. Every effective pound of investment in under 5s support services leads to a demonstrable reduction in future spending on health, social services, judiciary, policing etc and to better “outcomes” for each individual child in terms of their welfare, health and holistic development.

 

I am trying to ascertain what each political party’s views are on this and how that will translate into policy. I want to decide how to vote in future elections. I also want to ensure that these issues which in my opinion are fundamental to the workings of our society and the economy, are given the attention needed by decision makers.

 

If, as I previously suggested, it is easier to discuss this, my mobile number is xxxxxxxx

 

Thank you very much for your assistance.

 

Reply 5

 

Nothing received

 

Email 6 (several weeks later)

 

Hello Ryan,

Are you able to provide any information on Conservative Party policy in this area please?

 

Reply 6

 

Nothing Received

 

I have obviously frightened them off.

Edited by DavidW
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Well that lets us know where we stand.

 

If the Conservatives have no policy on crucial matters like EYPs, graduate leader funding or even the EYFS in general then we can probably conclude that funding and support for the early years sector won't be improving after the next election.

 

Do you have the energy to tackle any other parties?

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With the impending hotting up of debate as we head towards an election, I have been exercised by thoughts of what policies our main political parties might hold with respect to Early Years care and education. I therefore contacted the Conservatives to ask them. Below is the trail of emails to date. I am none the wiser, as the trail appears to have gone cold. Does anyone else have any insight from Labour, Conservative, LibDem, Greens, Monster Raving Looney Party?

 

Email 1

 

Hello,

I am trying to identify the area within the Conservative Party responsible for policy formulation for the care and development of children in the Early Years – age 0 – 5 years. I would like to know something about your party’s policy in this area and spending plans relative to other services. For example, how is Early Years education assessed in importance relative to primary, secondary and tertiary education budget plans? Does the Conservative Party recognise the importance of investment in services for children at the earliest stage of life, as a means of developing a more healthy, productive and emotionally stable population, with the attendant reduction in later spending on social services, judiciary, policing, health services etc? In the current economic climate, where there will inevitably be planned priority areas of ring-fenced public spending and areas which may see a reduction in real spending terms, how does your party rank expenditure on Early Years.

 

Thank you, in anticipation for your assistance.

 

Reply 1

 

Dear David,

 

This comes under the auspices of ~David Willetts - willettsd@parliament.uk

 

Best wishes

 

Jamie

 

Jamie Martin

Office of Michael Gove MP

Shadow Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families

 

Email 2

 

Same again, but addressed to David Willetts

 

Reply 2

 

 

Thank you for your email to David Willetts MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Universities and Skills.

 

Early years issues are primarily the responsibility of Maria Miller MP, Shadow Minister for the Family, and Tim Loughton MP, Shadow Minister for Children. They would be best placed to answer your questions, so I would recommend that you write to either of them at:

 

House of Commons

London

SW1A 0AA

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Henry Cook

Office of David Willetts MP

 

Email 3

 

Dear Henry Cook,

Thank you for your reply. The reason I wrote to David Willetts, was in response to previous advice from your office. I find it slightly disturbing that the Conservative party is really not sure who has the responsibility for policy regarding Early Years Care and Education. And is there no email address for either of the MPs mentioned below?

 

As a voter and someone interested in policy in this area, particularly your party’s views, this is becoming quite a task trying to obtain some basic information from your party.

 

Thank you for your assistance

 

Reply 3

 

Thank you for your further email. It would have been helpful if you had mentioned in your original email your previous correspondence with this office.

 

The responsibility for early years in the Conservative Party is very clear. Maria Miller MP is responsible for early years education and childcare issues. Tim Loughton MP is responsible for children’s services, personal, social and health education, child welfare and social work. Mr Willetts is the Shadow Secretary of State for Universities and Skills (rather than Early Years) and has been given additional responsibility for developing broader family policy. This is why I suggested you contact either Maria Miller MP or Tim Loughton MP, as your concerns focus on their particular areas.

 

The parliamentary website provides contact details, including email addresses for MPs, at the following address: http://www.parliament.uk/mpslordsandoffice..._lords/alms.cfm

 

For your benefit, I have pasted here links to the pages for the MPs mentioned above: http://findyourmp.parliament.uk/constituencies/basingstoke and http://findyourmp.parliament.uk/constituen...ng-and-shoreham

 

Yours sincerely

 

Henry Cook

Office of David Willetts MP

 

Email 4

 

Dear Mrs Maria Miller,

 

I am trying to identify the area within the Conservative Party responsible for policy formulation for the care and development of children in the Early Years – age 0 – 5 years. I would like to know something about your party’s policy in this area and spending plans relative to other services. For example, how is Early Years education assessed in importance relative to primary, secondary and tertiary education budget plans? Does the Conservative Party recognise the importance of investment in services for children at the earliest stage of life, as a means of developing a more healthy, productive and emotionally stable population, with the attendant reduction in later spending on social services, judiciary, policing, health services etc? In the current economic climate, where there will inevitably be planned priority areas of ring-fenced public spending and areas which may see a reduction in real spending terms, how does your party rank expenditure on Early Years.

 

Thank you, in anticipation for your assistance.

 

Reply 4

 

David Willetts MP has forwaded me your email of 10th July 2009 regarding Conservative Party policy on early years.

 

Children’s early year’s experiences, particularly family life, lay the foundations which can shape the rest of their lives. A secure and happy childhood is critical. Therefore, strengthening family life is at the heart of David Cameron’s vision for Britain – David has said that we want to make Britain the most family-friendly country in the world.

 

We have already announced plans for how a Conservative Government will reintroduce a universal Health Visitor service. International evidence shows that when parents are supported by health professionals such as health visitors, their children are more like to be healthy, do well at school, find better jobs and stay out of crime. The money the Government has currently set aside for untrained ‘outreach workers’ will instead be used to provide an additional 4,200 trained Sure Start health visitors. This will give parents support in the crucial early years of their child’s life.

 

There is much more. We would extend the right to request flexible working to all parents with children under the age of 18 and introduce shared parental leave of 52 weeks, where mum and dad decide how they divide caring responsibilities. We would also recognise marriage in the tax and benefits system, as well as ending the couple penalty in the benefits system which encourages couples to live apart rather than together. We will do this by raising the Working Tax Credit for couples from £3,430 to £5,385 – an increase of up to £38 a week. The direct effect will be lift to 3000,000 children in two-parent families out of poverty.

 

The early years of a child’s life are fundamental. This is why we have a wealth of policies to support families to ensure children have the best start in life.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Maria Miller MP

cc. David Willetts MP

 

So family friendly, more health visitors, increase in Working Tax Credits but nothing really on Early Years care and education. Let's try again!

 

Email 5

 

Dear Maria Miller,

 

Thank you very much for this helpful information. If I may ask some more specific questions –

 

What is your party’s view of Early Years Professional Status for early years practitioners?

 

Are you planning to continue support for the Graduate Leader Fund?

 

What is your party’s policy with respect to the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum?

 

What role does your party see for the Childrens Workforce Development Council?

 

What plans do you have with regard to the 15 hours flexible childcare, currently funded for over 3s and proposals for funded sessions for over 2s?

 

Broadly speaking, what are your party’s plans regarding funding support for existing early years education spending relative to primary, secondary and tertiary sectors? Eg maintain current levels, reduce / increase amounts?

 

How does the Conservative Party view the early years childcare and education sector in the context of a family-friendly nation? and what does it see as the relative roles of state maintained, voluntary and private sector childcare provision?

 

I appreciate that these are quite technical and specific areas but I would appreciate some meat on the bones of your general policy statements as someone who is passionate about early years care and education. I would be very happy to discuss any of these points with you further, should you consider that appropriate, either in person or by phone. At this stage in our country’s development, I believe it is vital that the correct strategic decisions are made to shape the future of the current and successive generations.

 

Reply 5

Dear David,

 

Maria asked me to get in touch with you.

 

I wonder if you could let me know a little bit about your background in early years education and care?

 

Many thanks,

 

Ryan Shorthouse

Adviser to Maria Miller MP

Shadow Minister for the Family

020 7219 6311

07754 672233

 

Email 6

 

Ryan,

In partnership with my wife, I own and run 4 full daycare settings in Southampton, employing 58 individuals. I am qualified as an Early Years Professional, my wife has a BA in Early Years and is currently working towards EYPS. We have recently returned from the World Forum on Early Years in Belfast. I am advocate for Men in Childcare at both a national and international level. As professionals in this field, we believe in polices that support families but we also strongly support high quality childcare and early years development. We are both passionate about the need for excellence in the delivery of care and development services for children under 5. We believe that, as a nation, it is imperative we formulate and implement policies based on sound research and common sense, to nurture and develop successive generations of children from birth, in loving, stable and developmentally appropriate relationships and environments, to enable each individual to reach his/her potential to become mature, creative, responsible and productive members of our society. Every effective pound of investment in under 5s support services leads to a demonstrable reduction in future spending on health, social services, judiciary, policing etc and to better “outcomes” for each individual child in terms of their welfare, health and holistic development.

 

I am trying to ascertain what each political party’s views are on this and how that will translate into policy. I want to decide how to vote in future elections. I also want to ensure that these issues which in my opinion are fundamental to the workings of our society and the economy, are given the attention needed by decision makers.

 

If, as I previously suggested, it is easier to discuss this, my mobile number is xxxxxxxx

 

Thank you very much for your assistance.

 

Reply 5

 

Nothing received

 

Email 6 (several weeks later)

 

Hello Ryan,

Are you able to provide any information on Conservative Party policy in this area please?

 

Reply 6

 

Nothing Received

 

I have obviously frightened them off.

Hi David,

Have you tried emailing David Cameron himself? Clearly from Mrs Millers response, the Tory vision and Mr Cameron's are one and the same thing, so perhaps only he can provide the answers you seek? Congratulations on your persistence and good luck in hunting down those answers!

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:( Thank you for that - it has made me laugh. Sadly it looks like that's all that will be forthcoming from the Tories so I'd better make the most of it. :o Not sure it will pay the bills though or improve the funding in the setting I work at. :(

 

It will be interesting to see what other parties have to say too. xD

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Made me laugh too, thanks for that. :o

I thought it sounded Monty Pythonish. You obviosuly scared Ms Miller, one minute her fingers are flying away at the keyboard the next shes got someone to check you over.

I'd be interested in hearing what the other parties have to say too.

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very good... very humorous... but it is a typical politicians answer to everything isn't it?

 

ask a question which requires a direct answer and they go all around the houses and don't say anything constructive at all.. or ever answer the question posed to them.

 

even worse with a yes and no answer.. those are words not in their vocabulary at all, I just love those interviewers who keep repeating a question and ask for a yes or no answer.. they never get one.

 

Inge

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  • 2 weeks later...

Fascinating. I too wrote to the Conservative Party a while ago on this matter. I didn't receive a reply buy they very kindly put me on their mailing list letting me know what Dave has been up to every week!!

 

I just did a google on early years and conservatives and found the following ref from Nursery world:

 

"'Cool it' on early years, say Tories

 

Tory proposals were set out at a question-and-answer session on family policy at the House of Commons, organised by the Family and Parenting Institute, Nursery World reports.

 

Reversing the decline in numbers of childminders would be a priority under Conservative leadership, while early years education would take a back seat, according to shadow universities secretary David Willetts.

 

Willets said: "There has been an enormous amount of work on the early years. We need to cool it a bit and give people an opportunity to settle down. Work in the early years is incredibly important, but in general I think it is being over-educationalised.

 

"I'd like to ease up on early years outcomes so childcare is more rewarding and the experience is providing the childcare, rather than something that has to be put down in observations, which can sometimes change the nature of the experience.""

 

(Nursery World, 8 July 2009)

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Maybe I'm a cynic but do you think that could be interpreted as "Early Years - prime target for cuts"? Don't you love the phrases 'cool it', 'give people an opportunity to settle down'?

 

Actually, I seem to remember reading something similar in Nursery World last week.

 

and why is David Willetts (Universities) making this announcement when I have it on very good authority (above) that Maria Miller is the person responsible for Early Years?! Surely they can't be being swayed by the further education lobby, can they?

 

..still haven't had a reply from the Lib Dems, or anything further from the Conservatives. I'll wait till Labour have finished their conference before I try asking them for their plans.

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