Queen’s Speech: “Government will ensure children have best start in life”

In the Queen’s Speech outlining the Government’s priorities at the State opening of Parliament, the speech stated that the Government will ensure that children have the best start in life with a focus on early years.Westminster view

This builds on the Andrea Leadsom review The Best Start for Life: A Vision for the 1,001 Critical Days and includes new Family Hubs, Action Areas, local authority support for families and a “modern skilled” workforce to meet the changing needs of families with babies. It focused on child health.

The Queen’s speech also mentioned education recovery plans but this did not focus on early years.

Purnima Tanuku OBE, Chief Executive of National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA) said: “After a year of upheaval for young children, their families and childcare providers, the inclusion of the pledge to give children the best start in life, which will focus on their early years, is really welcome.

“It is absolutely crucial that any educational recovery plans have a real focus on early years because high quality early education can make the biggest impact in a child’s life and reduce the attainment gap. However this must also include financial recovery for private and voluntary childcare providers. Nurseries and other settings have been open throughout the pandemic but are struggling to remain sustainable while supporting our youngest children’s development and learning.

“Now we need to see actions back up today’s speech. The Government must work with the sector to follow through on promises of support and investment, while making sure any proposals can be delivered sustainably.”   

Read the full Queen’s Speech here and the briefing notes to accompany the speech which detail the Government’s plans here.