“The sector now needs stability”: New Ministers at Department for Education
The Department for Education has announced the roles of the new ministers at the Department for Education.
Chichester MP Gillian Keegan was appointed by new Prime Minister Rishi Sunak towards the end of October as the Secretary of State for Education.
Under secretary of state Claire Coutinho, MP for East Surrey will be the Children, Families and Wellbeing minister with the brief for early education and childcare
NDNA’s Chief Executive Purnima Tanuku OBE has written to both the Education Secretary and Children’s Minister asking for urgent meetings to discuss the state of the nursery sector.
“We would like to welcome Claire Coutinho to her new role as Children, Families and Wellbeing minister and look forward to working closely with her to address some of the challenges the sector is facing.
“The minister’s brief is much wider than early education and childcare, which includes special educational needs, social care and family hubs, but it is important that early years is given the same level of attention as schools.
“We have seen seven different Children and Families Ministers in the last five years. The sector now needs stability and continuity.
“With her background in finance, we hope the new minister understands the pressures on providers as they face record inflation and stagnant funding. This sector is vital to the children’s development and the economy, enabling parents to work.
“But we are facing a crucial time for the sector and the minister’s to-do list is growing by the day.
“Providers are working tirelessly to remain afloat in the face of rising costs and government-imposed business rates. More and more providers are being forced to close their doors as the gap widens between costs and income.
“The new minister must address these challenges and support the sector so that all children get the best start in life.”
When Gillian Keegan was appointed, Purnima told the press: “This is a critical time for our youngest children as we continue to build back from the impacts of the pandemic and navigate the cost of living crisis. The new Education Secretary, Gillian Keegan, has a lot in her in-tray but early education and childcare must be a top priority.
“In his first speech, the Prime Minister spoke of looking to the future, levelling up and protecting future generations. Evidence proves that investing in early years is the best possible way to do this. It gives children the best start in life, improves their educational outcomes and is vital in supporting working families.”
- Claire Coutinho
- Families and Wellbeing
- Gillian Keegan