The Daycare Trust Conference yesterday was the site of another announcement by our new Minister Sarah Teather MP. With growing confidence and assurance, she wrapped her message in cashmere and presented it to the audience in a way that was relatively soft and attractive. The message was that the Sure Start grant would be an Early Intervention Grant, the CWDC would go back into the Department and there would be no more commitment to having a QTS in a Children Centre.
Maybe, many of us agree with her about some of her changes – and hence the audience reacted quietly. Or maybe the lack of fine detail had people scratching their heads about how these changes would be interpreted in reality. Biggest question would be whether sustainability funding, quality and access funds remain in the Early Intervention Grant.
The rhetoric of early intervention was strong and no right thinking person could argue with this – especially as two of my favourite research authors Ian Sinclair and John Bennett took to the stage afterwards to reinforce the message from economic and quality perspectives. John Bennett from OECD always brings the European view which is a helpful benchmark.
I think our charming colleague from the DfE went home rather tired, having had to try and respond to all those seeking an answer over their nutritious lunch. In the meantime, for those of us in the PVI sector, as the saying goes: be careful what you wish for…