Early years provision ‘sets our children up for life’ at education conference

First published on: 20th February 2024

The education of our youngest children took centre stage at a key meeting of church and school leaders in Newcastle and Durham dioceses.

Bishop Helen-Ann opened the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Conference at the Delta Marriot Hotel, Gateshead, on 7 February, where she highlighted the importance of early years provision in setting our children up for life.

At the conference, sponsored by Vision for Education and organised by the Joint Education Team (JET) for Durham and Newcastle dioceses, the Bishop was joined by Interim Diocesan Director of Education, Gill Booth, Amy Cookson from AKConsultancy, a range of educational speakers, headteachers and other leaders in early years provision, as well as representatives from other supporting organisations.

Bishop Helen-Ann used her opening speech to pay tribute to teachers and others involved in the development of the early years age group.

“The foundations are laid in the early years,” she said. “It sets children up for life. It is not a short-term thing. That’s the importance of what you do as practitioners of early years.”

Gill Booth said: “The conference was a great opportunity for early years specialists to meet and share their expertise, as well as to hear from some inspirational guest speakers and contributions from early years leaders from different schools and organisations.”

Amy Cookson added: “I’m blown away by the work you do for our young children. You’re always asking how we can improve things and there have been so many opportunities since the pandemic where you have ensured that our youngest children are at the heart of all we do.”

Following the opening speeches, a day of workshops equipped the early years professionals with a wide range of support to take into their everyday work. 

After the conference, Gill Booth concluded; “Feedback was incredibly positive and we had an extremely fruitful day. We are now planning for our next educational conference in June which is aimed at Chairs of Governors and Headteachers.”

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