Joint working will be crucial for childminders, says NCMA chair designate

Childminders must be helped to engage with other professionals to tackle changes in policy and funding challenges, according to the next chair of the National Childminding Association (NCMA).

Sue Davis will take on the position of chair from Susanna Dawson, who is to step down in September after six years in the role.

Currently chair of Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospital Trust, Davis has also had experience as a school governor and as a local councillor.

Speaking of her recent selection, Davis said it will be important to help the childminding sector cope with challenges from tightening budgets to changes in government policy.

“Being part of an organisation that is devoted to joining childminders up with each other and ensuring they have access to the best possible information, advice and training is really exciting,” Davis said.

“Reductions in public funding, decentralisation that is allowing local authorities to take different decisions on how they support childcare and threats to children’s centres are potentially going to put the infrastructure that is delivering the things that the government says it wants at some degree of risk.

“For a national organisation like NCMA to keep track of this and not just respond to government but act as an adviser will be really important.”

David added that it is important childminders are given the help to work with a range of professionals and cope with shifts in policy.

“There are all sorts of things happening such as the select committee’s report on Ofsted and Graham Allen’s early intervention review that don’t just affect the childminding community but also everyone who is dealing with children and early years provision,” she said. “It is important that childminders work with especially the social care and education sectors.”

Davis will be working alongside outgoing chair Dawson to meet staff, members and volunteers before taking up her appointment in September.

Dawson said: “Sue brings with her a wide range of experience of governance and representation in a variety of different roles as well as a strong commitment to the role childcare and early learning plays in improving the life chances of children. The board selected Sue because it believes she has the skills and experience needed to oversee the delivery of NCMA’s new strategy during these difficult economic times.”