Ms Tassoni, who is also president of the Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years (PACEY) has been made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the Queen’s 2018 birthday honours.
A regular contributor to Nursery World, and a member of the Department for Education’s Education and Chilcare T-Level panel, Ms Tassoni’s publications have included – ‘Getting it right for two-year-olds’ and ‘Reducing educational disadvantage: a strategic approach in the early years’.
Ms Tassoni said, 'I was pleased to find out that I was awarded an MBE for services to early education.
'This award really belongs to childminders and staff who work in nurseries and pre-schools. They work day in and day out with young children and their families in a sector that is increasingly under-funded and under-valued.
'It is not enough for ministers and policy-makers to talk about the importance of early childhood and 'high quality' early years education and childcare. Words are cheap, whilst making a difference to children's lives through family friendly policies, better adult-child ratios and qualified staff is not. I hope that in the future, we will see not only more early years practitioners gaining recognition through the honours system, but that recognition comes also in the shape of more funding.'
Also honoured is Rosemary Davis, Professor Emeritus at UCL Institute of Education. Professor Davis, whose research has specialised in early education and childcare, has been awarded a CBE for her services to education.
A number of others working in early years and childcare have also been recognised in the Queen’s birthday honours, receiving British Empire Medals (BEM). They are:
- Marie Ann Dunbar, playgroup leader at St Columba’s Playgroup in Annan, Scotland
- Susan Alayne Campbell, principal of Magherafelt Nursery School in Northern Ireland
- Sarah Edwards, former volunteer engagement officer for PACEY
- Tracy Abnett, a childminder and volunteer for PACEY.
Liz Bayram, chief executive of PACEY, said, ‘PACEY benefits from the generous support of so many volunteers who share our passion for early years and help us champion childcare. We thank them in many different ways but – every now and then – our Board recognises the dedicated service of some of our long-standing volunteers by nominating them for British Honours.
‘So we are delighted that our nominations for Penny Tassoni, Sarah Edwards and Tracy Abnett have been recognised. Each of them have supported thousands of PACEY members over the years. We remain fortunate that Penny is our President, with the varied demands this places on her free time. Both Sarah and Tracy no longer work for PACEY but continue to support childminders in their local community and undertake other voluntary work. We wholeheartedly congratulate them on their well-deserved Honours.’