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Latest meetings

How childcare can reduce inequality

February 2020

In this meeting we will look at how Government spends money on supporting families to access childcare and improving its quality, and discuss the solutions that could help to make that inequality is tackled in the early years. 

  • Sara Bonetti, Education Policy Institute 

  • Beatrice Merrick, Early Education 

  • Cathryn Arnold-Kinsey, Clyde Early Childhood Centre 

  • Charlotte McDonough, Save The Children 

Removing barriers to work for parents of young children

October 2019

In this meeting we presented new research on the factors which influence whether mothers stay in paid work after they have a baby and discussed the solutions that could help to make sure every parent can make genuine choices about their working and family lives. We heard from: 

  • Julia Waltham, Head of Policy and Campaigns, Working Families

  • Claire Harding, Head of Coram Family and Childcare

  • Laura Dewar, Policy Officer, Gingerbread

  • Dr Elizabeth Reed, Lecturer in Sociology, University of Southampton

Improving speech and language in the early years

July 2019

This meeting discussed the latest evidence on how best to improve speech and language in the early years and how we can address gaps in policy and practice, including hearing from: 

  • Ginny Lunn, Managing Director, Coram Beanstalk and Education Divisional Director, Coram Group

  • Judith Parke, Head of Home Learning, National Literacy Trust

  • Bob Reitemeier CBE, Chief Executive, I CAN

Getting the best start for disabled children

May 2019

This meeting discussed how well the early education and development of children with SEND is being supported and sought to identify improvements, including hearing from: 

  • Beatrice Merrick, Chief Executive, Early Education

  • Anne Brook, Director of Family Support, Contact and parent

  • Purnima Tanuku, Chief Executive, NDNA

Poverty in the early years

December 2018

This meeting discussed how recent policy changes have affected the extent and depth of poverty in the early years, and possible solutions, including hearing from: 

  • Alison Garnham, Chief Executive. Child Poverty Action Group

  • Stephen Brien, Director of Policy, Legatum

  • Adam Corlett, Senior Economic Analyst, Resolution Foundation

Tax Free Childcare and 30 hours

April 2018

This meeting looked at early evidence of the impact of these two new investments including:

  • Nicky Morgan MP discussing the Treasury Select Committee inquiry into childcare
  • Ellen Broomé from Family and Childcare Trust discussing the impact for parents
  • Neil Leitch from Pre-School Learning Alliance and Valentine Mulholland from NAHT discussing the impact on childcare providers and schools

What’s the best way to spend £6 billion on early education and childcare?

January 2018

This meeting drew on evidence on how best to invest in early years to achieve the dual goals of supporting children’s development and parental employment. The meeting looked at:

  • Upcoming work from Save the Children and Centre for Social Justice 
  • Social Market Foundation and Lucy Powell’s Lost Generation report 
  • Family and Childcare Trust’s Creating an anti-poverty childcare system

Early years, children’s centres and social mobility

October 2017

This meeting discussed possible future models for providing support to families in their child’s first months and years of life. It looked at:

  • What can be learnt from the children’s centres programme
  • Consider what shape future policy in the UK should take
  • Launch The future of family services report by the Family and Childcare Trust on what families say they need from early years services.

Prisoners' families

January 2017

This meeting, run in collaboration with the APPG on Penal Reform, looked at the issue of prisoners and the relationships with their families. The session focused on:

  • The maintenance of family ties and relationships during a period of incarceration
  • The reintegration of family members following a prison spell and the impact on family cohesion
  • The impact on children of parental absence and penal system experience
  • Government support for families of prisoners during and after incarceration

Speakers included Neera Sharma from Barnardo’s, Professor Nancy Loucks from Families Outside, Kate Bulman from Oakhill Secure Training Centre Fatherhood Programme and a member from the Young Dads Collective.

Parents experience of returning to work

November 2016

This meeting explored challenges for new parents returning to work, focusing particularly on maternity discrimination and shared parenting. Specifically, this session looked at:

  • The current Equality and Human Rights Commission investigation into maternity discrimination
  • The implications of discrimination and unequal patterns of care on gender gaps in pay, employment and career advancement
  • The case for an independent right to paternity leave and incentivising fathers to take leave
  • Potential government initiatives to combat pregnancy discrimination and support shared parenting

Speakers included Ros Bragg from Maternity Action and Jennifer Liston-Smith from My Family Care.

High quality childcare

March 2016

This meeting examined the quality of early education and childcare across the UK and its significance in promoting children’s learning and development. The session specifically aimed to:

  • Outline the importance of high quality childcare for children’s future development
  • Assess the nature of the current early years workforce, including variations across the UK
  • Identify barriers to delivering high quality early childhood education and care
  • Discuss potential solutions and policy options

Family Test

January 2016

This meeting discussed the Family Test and its implementation across government since the test’s introduction in 2014. Specifically, this session looked at:

  • The importance of high quality family relationships and the need to ensure that public policy supports family wellbeing regardless of family structure
  • What the Family Test means for policy makers and Parliamentarians
  • What can be done to ensure the success of the Family Test
  • The usage of the Family Test across government departments

Reports and publications


Lucy Powell MP, APPG on Families in the Early Years

Lucy Powell MP

Labour Party
Bishop of Durham

Bishop of Durham

Ian Mearns MP, APPG on Families in the Early Years

Ian Mearns MP

Labour Party
Earl of Listowel

Earl of Listowel

Tim Loughton MP

Tim Loughton MP


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Coram Family and Childcare pinwheel