This month the National Day Nurseries Association are celebrating their 10th birthday. The Old Station Nursery joined the NDNA when we first opened in 2002 as it seemed important to have a voice in a fast-changing sector, despite being only one smallish nursery. Since then the sector has developed so much that it is almost unrecognisable, with the introduction of the Early Years Foundation Stage, reduction of the school entry age, increase in maternity leave, the list goes on. It can feel like a battle against bureaucracy sometimes as we fill in returns for the Early Years Entitlement, negotiate with voucher companies for payments and chase aged debts caused (at least in part) by late working families tax credits.
Throughout this change, the NDNA has championed the cause of the individual or group nursery and has provided a good sounding board. We use it when we don’t get a clear answer from OFSTED (who are not there to provide advice, you know!) or when we want to know what other nurseries are doing about a particular issue. Despite frequent criticism from some companies who are concerned that the NDNA rely too much on funding from Government projects to make them truly impartial, I have been so impressed by the commitment of the whole team, who genuinely strive to represent the views of their members and to further the cause of day nurseries as a whole.
I, for one, shall continue to support the NDNA and feel that they help us to have a say in how the sector evolves further. Happy Birthday to you all in Huddersfield and keep up the good work during your second decade!