June O'Sullivan MBE is Chief Executive of the London Early Years Foundation (LEYF), a social enterprise which currently runs 37 nurseries across eleven London boroughs.
An inspiring speaker, author and regular media commentator on Early Years, Social Business and Child Poverty, June has been instrumental in achieving a major strategic, pedagogical and cultural shift for the award winning London Early Years Foundation, resulting in increased profile, new childcare model and stronger social impact over the past ten years.
As CEO and creator of the UK's leading childcare charity and social enterprise since 2006, June continues to break new ground in the development of LEYF's scalable social business model. She remains a tireless campaigner, looking for new ways to influence policy and make society a better place for all children and families.
June is a champion of community-based, multi-generational early years education as the basis for greater social and cultural capital to deliver long-term social impact. She continues to advise Governments as well as a range of organisations, academics and services at home and overseas about how best to implement a social enterprise vision for Early Years.
June is a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Director of Early Years Nutrition Partnership, Trustee of London Hostels Association. Director of Social Enterprise UK, Member of Sustain Children’s Food Fund and Founding Member of International Early Years. She has recently joined the Mayor’s Advisory Skills Board. June was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday honours in 2013, for her services to London’s children. She won the Social Enterprise UK Women’s Champion Award in November 2014 and in February 2015 she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Middlesex. In 2016 she was named one of the 500 influential People in the UK by Debretts. In 2017 she was delighted to receive the Most Influential Person In Early Years Award and joined the top 10 WISE women.
June is a published author, with an MA in Primary & Early Childhood Studies and MBA from London South Bank University.
Election fever has begun. Well, less of a fever and more of a virus at the moment. The manifesto writers are busy locked in darkened rooms trying to shape their political parties' ideas and offers. According to the media and political pundits the main subject of the election is Brexit but a general election needs to address domestic bread and butter policy as well.
A couple of weeks ago, the US electorate put two fingers up to the neoliberal establishment and voted in Donald Trump to be the next president of the USA. While I, along with many others, watched in silent fascination as this was played out, I was also preparing to meet two politicians who may have a greater say in our world.
Today nurseries are part of the infrastructure of a modern society. We merit the support of a government and politicians who, instead of spending time on their ideological battleground, should be supporting those people trying to run businesses which enable ordinary working families to work.
Do you remember the Big Society, the ambition where the state would be rolled back and every effort would be made to engage people, neighbourhoods and organisations in a way that would build social capital? The means of doing this would be co-production. But where has this intention gone?
The Government wants to upgrade the calibre of staff entering the Early Years profession. So indeed does the sector, so what's the problem? The issue is the entry qualification. The Government wants it to only be GCSEs at C or above in English and Maths.
David Cameron made a promise to deliver childcare. If he cannot afford to invest in this core infrastructure then he should say so. We will then need to rethink what we can offer and what would work. I hope the future London Mayor is prepared to listen to us...time will tell.
There is no doubt that some people are sitting smugly thinking 'this would never happen to us' however I think we all need to recognise that this could happen to any of us. This situation poses some questions?
It is a sad indictment of a society that has created a situation which means our young cannot afford to live in the city that they were born in. As someone who had to leave their own country to get work, I am loathe to see my own children forced to live far away.
Last week a colleague and I travelled to Greece to the annual EECERA Conference. I like to attend such conferences because I believe that if we do not work to connect practitioners, policy makers and academics then we will never gain the coherence we need to ensure policies and practice are effective and actually support children and families in a way that also supports social justice.
I attended the Inclusive Prosperity Conference at the Science Museum this week which was chaired by Ed Balls MP and the keynote speaker was Ed Miliband... Mr. Miliband warned that he won't always agree with us but my advice to him is to listen and think until his head hurts.
He says put two year olds in school early and they will succeed but children aged three have been in school for the last 12 years and there is no research that shows that by being in school they have successfully helped children become 'school ready.'
If we care about our children and future generations, we must reverse the idea that children can be squeezed into somewhere on the basis of available space, cost cutting and political expediency. We are judged as a society by the care we give out children. Future generations will not thank us for failing on our duty to our youngest citizens.
The shared parental leave policy is a step towards helping parents juggle the cost of childcare for the first year of their baby's life. But it still leaves the thorny question of how parents will pay for childcare until their child is eligible for 15 hours of government-funded care as a three-year-old. Will childcare ever become a universal offer like school? Or will it remain market-led where parents bear the brunt of the cost.
03/12/2013 15:34 GMT
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