Is Nursery the Right Place for Your Child?

November 21st 2022

What is the annual Margaret Horn debate?

Every year we have the Margaret Horn Debate to introduce, explore and debate ideas, policies and innovative practice. Consequently, we have discussed a wonderful array of topics over the past 15 years. The rationale for the Margaret Horn debate is to have a space where we can talk opening and honestly about the Early Years especially as our story is no fairy tale with a happy ending. Sometimes reframing the problem can point to more promising solutions and our most compelling stories can kickstart some action.

Our question this year, draws on lots of work that has been done about the role of nurseries to support families to work but is underpinned by the research that says that nurseries don’t really work for children unless the quality is brilliant. In an economic situation which is squeezing families, one would think that the infrastructure provided by accessible childcare should be strengthened and the affordability issue should be addressed so more people can work to survive the economic crisis and help the country grow, given the level of job vacancies.

Why is the UK Government neglecting children under 5?

However, the budget we just had shows none of this connectivity. The Early Years sector was excluded and the role to support children ignored. No funding was allocated to reduce the strain on fees and ensure children attend great quality nurseries with good food, beautiful teaching and a happy, fun time. Instead, nurseries already facing significant cost pressures as they try and navigate the economic situation on funding rates that have not changed since 2016.

To prepare for this, have a look at a report we recently produced, with Kindred Squared, Arkschools , Early Education, and Frontier Economics, to consider how we reconfigure the funding we currently receive to make the biggest difference to the sector.

You might want to consider other reports that identify the importance of the nursery for children especially those living in very difficult homes, where there is a lot of pressure driven often by poverty and disadvantage. Consider how nurseries can provide nutritious meals for children reducing anxiety at home. Think about how nurseries help children learn and develop and make friends. Consider the role of great teachers in delivering wonderful nurseries.

Join the Margaret Horn Debate

Share your thoughts. Do you think nurseries are not good places for children? Please come and join the debate. Sign up here.

Debate Panellists:

  • June O’Sullivan – Chief Executive at The London Early Years Foundation (LEYF)
  • Owen Thomas – Managing Director and Head of Programmes, Fathers  at Future Men
  • Norma Raynes – Chief Executive  at From Generation 2 Generation
  • Marc James – Quality Assurance and Registration Lead at Tiney

Debate Chair: Meredith Jones Russell, Freelance Journalist

Debate format:

  • Zoom Webinar
  • The debate will be recorded
  • The audience will be able to ask questions via the Q&A chat function

Timings: 4:30pm to 6pm on Thursday 1st December 2022

Register via Eventbrite.