Policy Forum for Wales

We are continuing to organise full-scale virtual conferences which retain all the features of physical seminars, including full programmes, presentations with slides, panel discussions and live delegate questions and comments sessions, person-to-person and group networking, and a permanent record provided to all delegates afterwards. New events are coming on to our conference programme all the time, so there are plenty of opportunities to join us if you haven’t already, from wherever you are.
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Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) in Wales - key issues for quality, flexibility and affordability

July 2020


Price: £95 PLUS VAT
Format: DOWNLOADABLE PDF


***Full-scale policy conference taking place online***


Stakeholders and policymakers taking part in this timely conference will examine the ongoing development of the new Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) quality framework in Wales.


Delegates will discuss key issues and the way forward for achieving the aims of quality and consistency of provision, with sessions looking at:


  • improving access
  • flexibility and information
  • Welsh-medium provision
  • resources
  • the inspection regime

Of course we expect a key focus on the day to be the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on early years provision in Wales, now and into the future, including:


  • the makeup of the early years workforce and future planning, in light of childcare being one of the Welsh Government’s list of critical sectors
  • how the sector can continue to be supported by the Welsh Government through the immediate crisis as the Government publish their decision framework for the next phase of education and childcare, considering potential changes that might need to be made to operations
  • logistical issues at schools and nurseries, as lockdown restrictions are eased, and the implications of lower attendance at nurseries, with government guidance expected shortly for childcare and schools - after the recent announcement that all schools will reopen on the 29th June
  • the long-term direction of the Childcare Offer, prioritising funding and how to support families with a range of backgrounds - following the Welsh Government closing the Childcare Offer for new applicants for an initial three-month period, so that funding can instead be spent on provision for vulnerable children and children of key workers

Key areas for discussion:


Quality of provision, and investment and funding:


  • defining and delivering high-quality early years provision in Wales, and addressing the challenges for achieving consistency
  • improving education outcomes and addressing the attainment gap - and the principles underpinning the new quality framework
  • how investment can be used to have the greatest positive impact - with discussion expected on capital projects and investment from small grants

Support for staff, and Welsh-medium provision:


  • latest thinking on tackling challenges for achieving a sustainable early years workforce for Wales and supporting staff to deliver care and education
  • developing staff language skills and smoothing the transition from early years into Welsh-medium education
  • assessing best practice and progress made to date
  • priorities for enabling the widening of Welsh-medium provision

Inspection:


  • the potential impact on the joint inspection framework for childcare and play on early years care and education in Wales
  • issues for implementation

Access and flexibility, and involving families:


  • the flexibility of ECEC provision, and making childcare environments inclusive - particularly for children with additional learning needs or physical disabilities
  • innovation in education approaches and settings, improving their availability, and integration in education and care
  • improving support for families and parents in preparing children for education beyond ECEC - including on understanding and an awareness of the system and the support that is available

Developments that are relevant to the discussion:


The agenda:


  • Defining quality provision for both early years education and care
  • Challenges for delivering high-quality provision and prioritising child development
  • Ensuring consistent quality in ECEC - investment, workforce and closing the attainment gap
  • Set Up and Succeed - progress and future priorities for Welsh-medium provision
  • Improving access, flexibility and information - integration, innovative settings, and making care and education work for families

Policy officials attending:


Our forums are known for attracting strong interest from policymakers and stakeholders.


It’s certainly the case with this one. Places have been reserved by pass-holders from Senedd Cymru and the Plaid Cymru Senedd Group, and officials from the Welsh Government and Estyn.


This is a full-scale conference taking place online***


  • full, four-hour programme including comfort breaks - you’ll also get a full recording to refer back to
  • information-rich discussion involving key policymakers and stakeholders
  • conference materials provided in advance, including speaker biographies
  • speakers presenting via webcam, accompanied by slides if they wish, using the Cisco WebEx professional online conference platform (easy for delegates - we’ll provide full details)
  • opportunities for live delegate questions and comments with all speakers
  • a recording of the addresses, all slides cleared by speakers, and further materials, is made available to all delegates afterwards as a permanent record of the proceedings
  • delegates are able to add their own written comments and articles following the conference, to be distributed to all attendees and more widely
  • networking too - there will be opportunities for delegates to e-meet and interact - we’ll tell you how!

Full information and guidance on how to take part will be sent to delegates before the conference



This pack includes

  • Dropbox video recording of the conference
  • PDF transcript of the discussion, including all speaker remarks and Q&A
  • PDFs of speakers' slide material (subject to permission)
  • PDFs of the delegate pack, including speaker biographies and attendee list
  • PDFs of delegate articles