2012: The year in quotes

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It was an action-packed 12-months for the sector, inviting much opinion and debate as our selection of quotes here highlights...

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‘I had heard her talk at Pen Green; you had to listen really carefully, as every sentence was packed with meaning. Quite a woman’.  Kathy Battten, former advisory teacher, talking about early years pioneer Chris Athey who died in November 2011, January

‘I am very happy to endorse the new EYFS. It closely follows my recommendations, building on the strengths of the current framework and making key improvements in response to the concerns of many people working in the sector’. Dame Clare Tickell, March

‘The statutory framework for the new EYFS has finally arrived - slightly sooner than had been expected. Sadly, it's as lean as we had anticipated, with just a handful of paragraphs focusing on children's learning and development.’ Anne Langston,  Early Years Matters consultancy, April

‘I have to say that the organisers have been excellent and have really helped us to think about everything in advance. It is a lovely time – especially for the children – and we are going to make the most of it.’ Paola Testini, Kiddi Caru International, talking about preparing for the Olympics, May

‘Three cheers for Cathy Nutbrown! Foundations for Quality - the final report of her review of early years qualifications - was released last week and is the principled, honest, respectful report that the sector needs if we are ever to make sensible progress with qualifications.’ Helen Moylett,  Early Education, June

‘We are always quick to point to examples abroad where things are better than they are here - and so we should. There is much to be learned from the best elsewhere. But this is a good time to recognise that early years in the UK is in a strong position, and we have much to celebrate.’ Nancy Stewart,  Early Learning Consultancy, June

‘In early years we are rushing headlong into the demand that all staff are graduates. There is no doubt that we need some staff who have developed the higher thinking skills that come from completing undergraduate courses. However, we need to remember that care is also critical for small children, especially those from challenging home lives.’ June O’Sullivan, LEYF, June

‘You are all part of a crucial, and growing industry in this country, devoted to children's development.’ Sarah Teather, former children’s minister, August

'It is a tall order for local authorities to provide enough places for all eligible children, and ensure that parents can be confident that the provision is high quality and suitable for very young children, and this extra funding will help them meet that challenge.' Nick Clegg, deputy prime minister,  (on announcing £100m capital investment to expand two-year-old places) September

‘While the £100m for capital funding might persuade more nurseries and childminders to offer two-year-old places, the thing which makes me so sad is that the real investment needs to go into salaries.’ Denise Burke, United for all Ages, October

‘From a position of being told by the Department that "come March 2013, that’s it, you need to be self-sufficient", this is great news for the voluntary sector. It’s also deserved recognition of the support providers need as they continue to operate in incredibly difficult economic conditions.’ Neil Leitch,  Pre-School Learning Alliance, (on the Government’s announcement of the continuation of the voluntary and community sector grant), October

‘It is a life-time achievement award and extremely well-deserved, but that title has a hint of finality to it that Chris would probably resist – she certainly hasn’t finished yet.’  Professor Tony Bertram on Professor Chris Pascal, at the Nursery World Awards, September

‘My questions remain - does Ofsted want experienced early years specialists observing and recording quality in settings, or does it want anyone from any background, but who managed, through sheer luck to pass the assessment?’ Chelle Davison (on Ofsted’s assessment of inspectors),  Leeds Metropolitan University, October

‘We want to explore co-operative models, whereby local parents have a far bigger say in running their local nursery and get a share of the profits.’  Stephen Twigg, shadow education secretary, October

‘At a time when the Government is preparing to announce the future direction of the early years, those with EYPS can hold their heads high.’ Eunice Lumsden, University of Northampton, November

‘There are three main ways I want to help nurseries, schools and childminders deliver a high quality early education programme: sufficient funding to recruit and retain top quality staff, maximum transparency and consistent funding rates across the country.’ Elizabeth Truss, childcare and education minister, November

'The programme for the strategic partnership isn't yet out, so we haven't seen what the Department will do in the future. It's a really important role, about coherence and making connections. We're very proud of what we've been able to achieve.' Anne Longfield,  4Children, December

‘We want to make sure we are paying enough – and we are focusing on deprived areas including London to ensure that quality staff can be retained.’ Elizabeth Truss, childcare and education minister,  talking about two-year-old funding, December

‘This policy has the potential to boost the life chances of the most deprived children in London but finding an additional 25,000 early education places for two-year-olds is proving a huge challenge for local authorities.’ Anand Shukla, Daycare Trust, talking about the shortage of places for disadvantaged two-year-olds in London, December

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