Mr Clarke-Smith joins new ministers James Cleverly, MP for Braintree in Essex who took over from Nadhim Zahawi as Secretary of State for Education and Andrea Jenkyns, MP for Morley and Outwood, who is the new Minister of State for Skills, Further and Higher Education. This position is responsible for vocational qualifications, T-Levels and apprenticeships.
Former Children’s Minister, Will Quince, who recently addressed NDNA’s conference about his support of our #FirstFiveYearsCount campaign (link to campaign page), has re-joined the Department as Schools Minister.
Mr Clarke-Smith tweeted his excitement to begin his new role and belief that the new deparement will ‘take forward ambitious plans to tackle the cost of childcare, support social workers, and protect children across the country’.
Purnima Tanuku, Chief Executive of National Day Nurseries Association acknowledged the new appointment saying: “We welcome the new Children and Families Minister Brendan Clarke-Smith to what his predecessor referred to as ‘the best job in government’.
“This is so true – it’s also one of the most important jobs because it holds a huge responsibility for the future of our children. We hope that he recognises that a child’s first five years count and look forward to sharing our new campaign to raise awareness of this.
“This is a critical time for early years with providers working so hard to support children who are behind in their development following two years of restrictions and lockdowns. Their overstretched staff are stressed as nurseries find it ever more difficult to recruit. Childcare businesses who are paying rising costs and business rates are grappling with shortfalls in government funding, with increasing numbers having to close their doors for good.
“It’s important for the new Minister to focus on these challenges and support the sector rather than pursuing plans to relax ratios for two-year-olds. We look forward to our first meeting and to working with him going forward.”