did you decide to apply for the post of chief executive?
“I am currently NCMA’s Director of Policy and Public
Affairs, a post I have held for just under two years. In that
time I have seen how extremely committed childminders are to ensuring
the high quality of the childcare services they offer to children
and families; how much they invest in their own professional development
and how much NCMA supports them in doing so.
has done a great deal to enable registered childminders to develop
as early years
professionals and to raise awareness of the fantastic job they
do amongst childcare funders, policy makers and other children’s
professionals. The chance to build on this work and, with NCMA’s
trustees, key volunteers, staff and members, shape NCMA’s
ambitious and exciting plans for the future was too good an opportunity
“The 10 Year Childcare Strategy presents NCMA with a unique
opportunity to ensure home-based childcare becomes a fully integrated
part of the children’s services agenda. By ensuring this
happens, we will support all home-based childcarers to make an
even greater contribution to the well-being of the children in
did you do before you joined NCMA?
“My last job was as Head of Communications at the Royal
Society, the UK’s scientific academy. Before that I was
Head of Communications at the charity Asthma UK, which has a membership
of over 20,000 people. Most of my working life has been within
the voluntary sector, primarily within campaigning either for
policy change or awareness raising. I started my career as a journalist,
first in travel journalism and then in women’s weeklies.”
do you value most about NCMA?
“There are so many things about NCMA that I value –
the commitment and determination of staff to support quality home-based
childcare; the active and enthusiastic involvement of our trustees,
key volunteers and members in helping to shape and deliver our
work; and NCMA’s “can-do” attitude which has
achieved so much for home-based childcare.
think NCMA’s greatest asset is its 50,000 members who –
via letters, phone calls, and at our Annual Members’ conference
– help direct the work of the Association and ensure we
are aware of the impact – both positive and negative –
that new childcare proposals and plans have on their profession
and their ability to deliver high-quality, flexible, affordable
and inclusive childcare to children and families in their local
year’s Members’ Conference was a great example of
this in action. Individual members presented resolutions on minimum
training requirements for registered childminders, the need for
inset training days for all early years workers and much more.
(You can see all of the resolutions at www.ncma.org.uk). These
resolutions were debated at the conference, all NCMA’s members
were given the opportunity to vote on them. Now these –
and all the other resolutions which were passed – will be
key priorities for me as Chief Executive.”
will your other priorities in your role?
“The 10 Year Childcare Strategy has set a very clear list
of priorities for all of us at NCMA. For me, at the very heart
of this is ensuring the central role the strategy gives to registered
childminding is translated into action at a local level. NCMA
will do this by working in partnership with local authorities
as they establish Children’s Trusts, develop their local
workforce strategies and set up their extended schools and children’s
from that, one of my main future priorities will be to ensure
greater awareness of the benefits of home-based childcare amongst
parents and prospective parents. At national and local level,
NCMA already does a lot to directly tell parents about home-based
childcare and support childminders to promote their services too.
But we know that greater awareness is needed. We are currently
conducting research amongst parents to inform our marketing plans.
My plan is to further increase our promotional work, so that more
parents are aware of home-based childcare and so can make an informed
choice about what childcare best suits the needs of their child.”
is your vision for home-based childcare in the future?
“My vision – one shared by all the trustees, volunteers,
members and staff at NCMA – is that, by 2015, registered
childminders are fully part of the integrated children’s
workforce (all trained to Level 3 within five years of registration)
providing flexible, affordable, inclusive and high-quality childcare
to families and delivering at least one in every three childcare
places for children aged 0-14. The 10 Year Strategy provides the
framework that can make this a reality and it will be our job
to help make it happen!”