During Boris Johnson’s cabinet reshuffle on 15th September, Will Quince, MP for Colchester, was appointed Children and Families Minister, taking over the helm from Vicky Ford, MP for Chelmsford – now junior minister at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development office.
Mr Quince’s responsibilities include early years policy and childcare, free school meals and children’s social care.
On the same day, Nadim Zahawi replaced Gavin Williamson as the new education secretary, Nick Gibb was replaced by Robin Walker as schools minister and Gillian Keegan was replaced by Alex Burghart as minister for apprenticeships and skills.
Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Early Years Alliance said, ‘There is no doubt that Mr Quince takes up this position at a particularly difficult time for the early years sector, with the ongoing funding crisis, sustained recruitment and retention challenges, and of course, the continued impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
‘With the Spending Review just weeks away, it’s evident that the Department for Education must do much more to make a clear, convincing argument to the Treasury about the need for greater investment into the early years – and as children and families minister, it is now the responsibility of Mr Quince to lead on this work.’
Purnima Tanuku, chief executive of the National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA), said, ‘We look forward to welcoming Will Quince as the new children and families minister, working closely with him on issues like educational recovery, children’s outcomes, funding and the workforce crisis the sector is facing.
‘We hope the new minister will take this opportunity to get to grips with the urgent challenges facing the sector and focus on the longer-term planning which early years deserve.’
The full story, as reported by Nursery World can be read here.