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Early Years Education through the Lib Dem diamond window

May 4, 2015 10:23 PM
David Goodall with Floella Benjamin

David Goodall with Floella Benjamin

The quality of early years education plays a crucial role in determining how children perform throughout the rest of their time in school. Therefore the Liberal Democrats are proud have made delivering improvements in this area one of our top priorities in this election.

The Lib Dem manifesto sets out a number of steps we will take to improve the quality of early years teaching and to raise the status of those who work in early years.

Firstly, Lib Dems are committed to ensuring that, by 2020, every formal early years setting employs at least one person who holds an Early Years Teacher qualification.

More work with organisations like Teach First should be done to recruit more staff with Early Years Qualified status, and to extend full Qualified Teacher status, terms and conditions to all those who are properly trained.

To ensure all children are supported properly, we also want to focus on improving the identification of Special Educational Needs and disability at the earliest possible stage. This will mean that we can provide targeted support and ensure primary schools are better prepared for their intake of pupils.

There are concerns about the burden which preparing for Ofsted inspections can place on teachers. Therefore the Liberal Democrats plan to review the way Ofsted inspections work, to ensure they are always focussed on outcomes rather than processes.

Lastly, it has to be clear that, to deliver high quality early years education, the funding for these services must be protected and ensure investment benefits those children who are considered to need most support.

The Liberal Democrats have made clear that protecting education funding in real terms - from nursery to college - is something we will fight for in the next Parliament. This will be a non-negotiable point in any negotiations we may have to form a Government with another party.

Commenting on these proposals Isle of Wight Parliamentary candidate David Goodall said:-

"Liberal Democrats have a great number of ideas to improve further early years education and the very practical one of our commitment to increase our Early Years Pupil Premium to £1,000 per pupil per year"

Early Years Pupil Premium is extra money given early years education to help children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

One of the leading Liberal Democrats in the area of early year's education of the Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on a Fit and Healthy Childhood Baroness Benjamin of Beckenham. Better known to everyone as Floella Benjamin and commenting on the APPG's report on The Early Years she said:-

"I'm so happy to celebrate launch of APPG Fit and Healthy Kids Early Years Report with other committed guests who want the best for kids. Eunice Lumsden you were a Star at the launch of Early Years Report, your passion for making a difference to our kids well-being shone bright. Thank you to everyone who made The Early Years Report the most important piece of work for those who want the best for our kids."

Floella Benjamin at the Early Years report launch

Floella Benjamin at the Early Years report launch

And she went on to say:-

"Childhood lasts a lifetime, I will keep on saying this until policymakers as well as society understand what that truly means."

And David Goodall said on meeting and hearing Floella speak on children's issues:-

"Her passion in campaigning for a better start for children is truly great and she has hardly changed since I saw her as a kid on playschool"

Floella is best known from children's programmes such as Play School, Play Away and Fast Forward. And since her Play School days her interest in education has also seen her on the "4Rs Commission" established by the Liberal Democrats to look into primary education in the UK.

Floella is vice-president of NCH Action for Children and Barnardo's, and was in the NSPCC's Hall of Fame. She runs the London Marathon to raise funds for Barnardo's and the Sickle Cell Society. She was a cultural ambassador for the 2012 Summer Olympic Games. In September 2011, she participated in the Great North Run. In July 2007 she spoke of what she saw as the low standard of children's television and in March 2013, she used a speech marking International Women's Day to warn of the impact on children of the availability of violent pornographic material online, claiming this was leading to the increasing objectification of women.

On 28 June 2010, Lady Benjamin was introduced to the House of Lords as a Life Peer nominated by the Liberal Democrats with the title of Baroness Benjamin, of Beckenham in the County of Kent, and now sits as a Lib Dem peer in the House of Lords.

Related Link:- APPG Early Years Report