Caroline Dinenage is named early years minister

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After a delay of three weeks, Caroline Dinenage has been appointed as the minister responsible for early years and childcare.

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It is understood that the official announcement will be made later today.

The MP for Gosport, Stubbington, Lee on the Solent and Hill Head, is also minister for women and equalities.

Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Pre-school Learning Alliance, said, ‘We welcome the news that Ms Dinenage has been named as the new early years minister and congratulate her on her new role.
 


‘With the planned rollout of the 30-hour free entitlement offer, the imminent launch of the Government’s early years workforce and life chances strategies, and the publication of a revised EYFS Framework, this is clearly a time of significant change and transition for the early years sector – and one that can only benefit from positive, honest and open relationship between the sector and Government.
 


‘As such, we look forward to working closely with Ms Dinenage and her team at the Department for Education, to continuing to represent the views, ideas and concerns of early years providers and crucially, to working in partnership with Government to build and sustain a quality, affordable, sustainable early years sector.’

Liz Bayram, PACEY’s chief executive, said, ‘PACEY and its members are looking forward to working with Caroline Dinenage not least of all on the implementation of the extension to the free early education entitlement; the development of a workforce strategy and much more.

‘These matters now require her urgent attention. All children benefit from high quality early education and its vital the planned extension of free entitlement to 30 hours a week for working families does not place at risk the huge improvement in quality our sector has achieved in recent years. High quality that has been achieved through the hard work and dedication of practitioners and settings, despite reduced funding and support levels from Government.’

The minister was first elected to Parliament in 2010 and is the daughter of television presenter Fred Dinenage.

There was controversy when she was appointed equalities minister by David Cameron after last year’s general election, as she had voted against equal marriage.

From 2014-15 Ms Dinenage served as Parliamentary Private Secretary to the former education secretary Nicky Morgan MP.

Before entering politics Ms Dinenage ran a small manufacturing business for 20 years.

She attended Oaklands RC Comprehensive School, Waterlooville, and then studied Politics and English at Swansea University.

It has been announced that environment minister Thérèse Coffey will have responsibility for rural childcare.

Ms Bayram said, ‘We are also pleased that the new job includes responsibility for rural childcare. Given so many registered childminders play such a critical role in sustaining rural childcare we will be seeking an early meeting with her to discuss how we can support this new brief for DEFRA.’

Purnima Tanuku, chief executive of National Day Nurseries Association, said, 'We are really pleased to welcome Caroline Dinenage to this crucial role and look forward to working with her.
 
'Mrs Dinenage’s first priority must be ensuring the successful implementation of the Government’s flagship 30 free hours childcare election pledge.
 
'The forthcoming pilots in several local authority areas will offer a great learning opportunity to fine-tune the new system before it is fully rolled out. Together we must look to the pilots to see how 30 free hours can be made a real success for families.
 
'NDNA and the sector are ready and willing to engage with 30 free hours as long as the funding is right.
 
'Having established her own small business, Mrs Dinenage will be familiar with the challenges that SMEs face, so I’m sure she will be interested in getting to know the mixed economy in childcare and early years education. Private, voluntary and independent nurseries which are crucial to the delivery of 30 hours free childcare can offer quality, capacity and flexibility if they are given the right conditions to operate in.
 
'Continued momentum on the early years workforce strategy introduced by Sam Gyimah is also extremely important.  A promised qualifications review is also needed urgently as current requirements for childcare students to hold GCSEs in maths and English at a minimum of grade C is causing a barrier to many great candidates.'
 

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