Tag Archives: Social Enterprise

Take the Christmas Quiz and See if You Can Remember Anything From 2016!

Many of you have broken up this weekend (or broken down!) and the rest of us continue to work flat out until Christmas Eve (another reason to support nurseries designed to ensure parents can work!). So put on a red hat, sing along to the tune of Mariah Carey’ s greatest Christmas hit while pretending to be the Eggheads and do this quiz at your last staff meeting of the year!

June1 June2 June3




Questions Answers
1 Which Member of Parliament said in her maiden speech ‘I’m the only member of the house who at the age of 16 and pregnant was told ‘I wouldn’t amount to anything’’. a. Angela Rayner
b. Tracy Brabin
c. Heidi Allen
2 What percentage of school children in year six are now clinically obese? a. 19.8%
b. 24.7%
c. 29.8%
3 What % of nurseries are rated ‘Good’ by Ofsted? a. 86%
b. 91%
c. 95%
4 Who was the charming Breakfast TV presenter who interviewed Gill Jones from Ofsted this year? a. Charlie Stayt
b. Ben Shepard
c. Piers Morgan
5 How many local authorities are piloting 30 hours of free childcare before the national roll-out in September 2017? a. 8
b. 10
c. 25
6 Which charity went into administration in August? a. Kids Company
b. 4Children
c. Care Leavers Foundation
 7 What policy is causing the sector to have a recruitment crisis? a. GCSE A to C Maths and English
b. Certificate in Child Development
c. Functional Skills
 8 If Santa was traveling at 650 miles a second, how many homes would he need to visit to deliver all the world’s gifts? (Hope you have your GCSE Maths!) a. 756 per second
b. 822 per second
c. 1915 per second
 9 Who refused to back the appointment of Amanda Spielman as the New Ofsted Chief Inspector? (They did the same to Anne Longfield when appointed Children’s Commissioner) a.  Sir Michael Wiltshire
b. Education Select Committee
c.  Justine Greening
 10 In August the DfE promised that from 2018, local authorities will need to pass what minimum proportion of Government childcare funding to the early years providers as part of plans for a national funding formula? a. 72%
b. 89.5%
c. 95%

Bonus Question: Name these old favourites (take that whatever way you like!)

June 2June 1June 3June 4








Happy Christmas! Prepare yourself for more chaos and confusion in 2017!


Answers : 1 (a) 2 (a) 3 (b) 4 (c) 5 (a) 6 (b) 7 (a) 8 (b) 9 (b) 10 (b)

Margaret Horn 2016 : The London Childcare Challenge

Margaret Horn

Margaret Horn

Every year during the November Global Enterprise Fortnight we host the Margaret Horn Debate to celebrate Social Enterprise Day. Margaret Horn was the first director of the charity that in 2008 become the social enterprise London Early Years Foundation (LEYF). I know very little about her, (despite our research) but I do know that she was a pupil of Octavia Hill, a woman I have always admired for her energy, ambition and social enterprise.


Last year we debated the importance of businesses being family friendly and it was a very popular theme and so therefore it seemed logical to continue the debate especially as we have a new London Mayor, Sadiq Khan (for those of you who have been sharing Sleeping Beauty’s glass box) who seems much more in touch with what needs to happen to support Londoners live well and work successfully. Certainly, during a visit to a LEYF nursery, our Mayor demonstrated a greater grasp that childcare is a crucial part of our city’s infrastructure, helping parents to work, improving children’s educational outcomes and helping narrow the achievement gap between disadvantaged children and their more affluent peers.


London has a lot of childcare challenges particularly if it is to provide the range of places. available to meet the number needed to put the number of children across our very diverse city.  We need to have sufficient staff to run the nurseries and provide the best service to all our children.  This is tricky as nurseries receive insufficient Government funding which is sorely felt in an expensive city where childcare costs are on average 23 per cent higher than the rest of England.  At LEYF we subsidise nearly 48% of places but that can’t be sustained given the increasing living costs and the difficulty of recruiting staff who can no longer afford to live in the city where housing costs are around 50% higher than the rest of the UK and transport costs overwhelming. I won’t comment on Southern, my local rail operator, just feel my pain.

When it comes to child poverty, 700,000 children living in London are below the poverty line, that is 37% of all children compared to 26% across the UK. Children in London are much more likely to live in poverty with 14 out of the top 20 local authorities with the highest rates of child poverty across the UK. Half of 0 to 19-year-olds in London (1.1. million) live in a family that receives tax credits. 640,000 children benefit from in-work tax credits. Poor children in London are less likely to be able to afford everyday items than those elsewhere in the country.

We need sufficient providers running sustainable services to offer the 15 funded hours childcare to local families, the Two Year Old offer as well as children with learning needs and disabilities.  That’s problematic as property costs in the city are exorbitant and there is no London funding for capital expenditure.  In a Huffington Post blog, I wrote in March this year, I raised the difficulties childcare providers face in London trying to keep childcare fees affordable when the Government subsidy still only meets half the cost of a place? I also commented on one of the many unintended consequences of poorly drafted Government policies which is resulting in the emergence of two-tier services with separate provision for those children on the ‘free offer.’

Finally, there also needs to be a bigger conversation with parents and the public about a wide range of issues such as what education for small children looks like in different settings, what that means for their children, limiting early and unnecessary transition to school and understanding why community nurseries are a good thing for children in London because they help create social capital by building local networks, reducing loneliness and nurturing community spirit.

This is a flavour of this year’s debate.

So, don’t lose hope. Join us for a lively discussion and debate with London’s first Deputy Mayor for Education and Childcare, Joanne McCartney alongside a panel of colleagues,  about how we can address the London Childcare Challenge together.

Sign up below for the Margaret Horn Debate on 10th November, 17.30 at the BT Centre, 81 Newgate Street (closest tube, St Pauls).




Nets, Networks and Networking to Create Collective Impact

This week I visited the West Country to speak to a group of people working or interested in working in social enterprise. I really wanted to have a day at the seaside and take a train along the Dawlish track which was the subject of such dramatic TV footage last year. Continue reading

Visiting the Farmer is his Den

Last week I visited Paddington Farm in Glastonbury Somerset of which I am Chair. It’s a lovely 43 acre organic farm which is run as a social enterprise. The farm offers holidays to groups and families at a reasonable price with lovely educational activities to give everyone a relaxing and fun holiday.

Children and staff from LEYF have visited the farm for the past twenty years and always come back relaxed and enthused and much more knowledgeable about the origins of their food. In a world where we trust less and are highly anxious about health and safety, a visit to the farm is almost essential. Of course, visiting a farm is not in the EYFS but you could probably meet most of the EYFS requirements after a week on a farm.

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Stonehenge, Farms and Icebergs: Developing Successful Growth Strategies

I am rarely found up at 6am on a Saturday unless I am on my way back from some lively event but this Saturday I headed off to Paddington Farm for a strategy awayday. It was a glorious clear morning with a romantic frost over the Salisbury plains. Passing Stonehenge made me wonder whether our prehistoric strategists realised 3500 years ago that they were building the most important prehistoric monument in the whole of Britain.moonrise stars Stonehenge Wiltshire England UK

The point of a strategy is to plan the action needed to ensure we meet our mission statement in a way that secures us economically.  It is a day to remind us all about the core business ( in this case educational farm holidays for people who are in need ) and what we can do to sustain and develop it.  It is quite broad in that we try to avoid drilling into how we will achieve the strategy.  We have to stick to asking ourselves over and over is this the right direction of travel.  Will this help us achieve our aim? Are we fit for purpose?

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Will Technology Based Networks Lead to a New Age of Enlightenment and an Early Years Wiki?

Last week was a week of networks and networking.  On Wednesday I was at an event organised by the Social Business Trust (SBT.)  It was called ‘Social Enterprise Potential in UK Education’ and a central theme was how we connect and form communities of like-minded people where we can converse and debate and learn from each other. I ended up having a very lively conversation with the Development Head of Ark Academies and Brett Wigdortz of Teach First or as I said to him Teach Early Years First! I think we will continue the discourse as we had much to say.

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Come and Celebrate ‘Creative Connections’ at our Event this Thursday

Some weeks are pretty gloomy but this one had some really lovely highlights.

The first was midweek when I gave a keynote speech to Essex County Council Early Years colleagues about the creative practitioner.  It gave me great scope to tell stories, get them to draw the person sitting next to them and read them my favourite book of the week, the feminist tale of Princess Sue who is ‘The Worst Princess.’ (we need to reclaim some of our feminist thinking in some of the modern arguments about women, motherhood and dress codes).

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Welcome to the Institute of Early Years: A Global Portal Connecting EY Colleagues – Help us shape it to meet your interests

For the past year, a small group of us have been mulling over how to create an international open-source space which connects people involved in all aspects of Early Years in a way so that they could chat, share ideas, make friends, organise visits and link to other organisations and resources.

We wanted it to be open source, low cost and accessible to all. We want anyone working with children across the childcare, social care, health, education, police and preventative sectors to connect. Continue reading

A Trip to the Farm and an Incident with a Chicken

I have the privilege of being the Chair of Paddington Farm Trust.  This is a 43 acre organic farm in Glastonbury Somerset, set up with legacy funds from the Greater London Council as a resource for children from inner London.  It was initially a group of well-meaning and interested Westminster residents that took it on and began a story which continues today…

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Get on the train to Brussels and make new friends.

LEYF CEO and Finance attend E3M Social Enterprise event

Reading documents from the European Commission require some preparation: firstly a cup of tea and a packet of Fig Rolls; secondly some good music (in this case my favourite Sharon Shannon); and finally a comfortable cushion.

As those of you who read this blog (thank you all very much, by the way), I am quite keen on Europe – especially for holidays.  I see myself as a European and I think the OECD has always said very sensible things about children. However, like many others, I have found penetrating the workings of Europe a step too far. We know there is money and opportunities for collaboration out there, but the processes are so dense that even I am dissuaded (willing as I was to trail around Parisian nurseries on a cold Valentine day). However, two things happened recently which give me hope.

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