Needing a change of focus in this ever changing sector?

For many years early education and childcare has been bombarded with constant changes to legislation in all areas of work – much has been necessary, with safeguarding children forefront, and rightly so.

In addition, changes in government funding for the sector has had an enormous impact on the financial viability of many EY providers.

I have worked in early years and childcare for over 25 years – the focus has always been on developing quality services for children and families, both as a nursery owner/manager and within my work related to training and development of others.

I believe that you can never stand still – things inevitably change. But how can you respond?

Nearly three years since the start-up of ‘Early Years Advocacy’ (EYA) I thought it was time for me to reflect on my overarching goals and ambitions.

My intention when I set up EYA was to do just that. To be an advocate and to use my skills, expertise and knowledge in this sector in a supportive way.

I researched, held exploratory meetings, asked questions and have constantly tried to meet the ever changing needs of the sector; responding to provider requests.

I’ve done this through running a business owners and managers forum/network known as the Hampshire Early Years Network (HEN) – listening to what members want from these meetings is of paramount importance to me and I help to meet these needs through the provision of speakers, information and training to support their quality practice. For more information click here.

In addition, over the last year I have been running bespoke Leadership and Management Workshops.

These have been targeted at those aspiring to take up management roles, those new to an EY management role and those requiring further development or support. The goal being to help fill the gap in the sector where we have a lack of qualified and experienced managers. For more information click here.

Many of you may be having the same thoughts – what should I do now?

The sector is certainly a challenge and I admire you all for the work that you do.

Perhaps you want to progress within your role but are wondering which way to go?

Is it time to seek promotion within your organisation: could this be your chance to go for that senior management position? Do you need help in acquiring extra skills or taking the plunge?

You know that it is becoming increasingly difficult for your employer to appoint people to these posts.

Perhaps you are the business owner and it’s time to expand your services?

Have you thought about after-school care or holiday provision for school aged children? Always needed by parents but without the limitations regarding fees chargeable, which offering pre-school childcare and education now has.

Is it worth researching the need in your area for this service, to increase your profits? This in turn could provide you with bigger budgets for staffing, training or child resources; whatever are your priorities.

Goals and ambitions

You may need action to move things forward or to make the necessary changes to keep your business running efficiently and to keep abreast of legislation?

Are you hoping things will improve and doing nothing about it? Are you procrastinating?

If you are not reaching your full potential and want to do more: stop, reflect, consider and then act!

My goals and ambitions are to promote more of the work that I’ve been doing in EY and this has led to ‘Strive’ being formed. Focusing attention on ‘developing people to achieve success’.

Many EY consultants now offer specific training and are skilled educators of children. They work with you to offer accredited training. It may be first aid, safeguarding, Ofsted preparation and increasing knowledge on how children learn and develop.

Whilst support in these areas of work is something that I can offer, my specialism is leadership and management: helping also to develop the soft skills required to create a productive, harmonious and motivated team.

This builds good working relationships and develops the skills and attributes of individuals. Never to be overlooked for creating the best EY environment; parents notice, and Ofsted will notice.

Stop for a minute and ask yourself the question – What do I REALLY want to do right now? Do I need a change of focus? Where can I make a difference?

If you have any uncertainty and would like some help please consider the range of support available through either Early Years Advocacy or do take a look at my new website: Strive.

To be clear

Strive is part of Early Years Advocacy (EYA) and has felt like a natural progression.

The EY sector is very important to me but I am refocusing on what I most enjoy and working in areas where I can truly make a difference.

Please see my journey here (summarised in a 2-minute read) which I hope will encourage and motivate you to take your own steps to refocus.

I will when appropriate send you information, blog articles and opportunities via Strive, the new arm to my business as well as through EYA.

Keep up the great work and look out for what ‘Strive’ has to offer you!