As we reach the end of the year, it feels like time to take stock of what has been happening in the early years sector and the priorities for 2019.
One problem is that the political situation, with Brexit hanging in the balance, is creating huge uncertainty as well as a paralysis of will and action on anything outside our dealings with the EU.
Brexit could have all sorts of ramifications for the early years, including on recruiting from abroad and parents' ability to pay fees, but it is nearly impossible to make meaningful forecasts.
Another problem is that it seems as though much of what has taken place in early years has gone backwards rather than forwards: the recruitment crisis and the fall in Level 3s; the scrapping of moves to boost graduate numbers; the underfunding of the 30 hours allied to rising costs of wages and business rates; and the proposed revisions to the Early Years Foundation Stage, which are riddled with problems.
At least Ofsted can point to 95 per cent of providers rated good or outstanding, and a new framework that will concentrate more on the curriculum and less on outcomes (see news, pp 10-11). We look forward to seeing who is on its new Early Years Pedagogy and Practice Forum – this could be a really positive force for good if true experts can make their voices heard.
This issue of Nursery World is the last for 2018. We'll return on 7 January, with some great specials and series planned.
Meanwhile, you can keep in touch with all the latest news and views in our daily email bulletins until 21 December, returning on 2 January.
The Nursery World team would like to wish all our readers, contributors and advertisers a Happy Christmas and all the very best for 2019. We hope you have the chance for a peaceful and restful break – I think we are all going to need it.