invitation to a government eventLast Monday saw me attend a formal event in the staggeringly regal, gilded Music Room in Lancaster House by Buckingham Palace, to celebrate the Early Years education sector, hearing from and meeting some of the best practice providers in the UK.

Lancaster House

I felt hugely privileged to be invited as a guest by Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, MP Sam Gyimah to witness his party’s policy in action, to hear from pre school providers from all over the country truly passionate about offering pre-school children education and importantly, pastoral support, nurturing kids all over the UK, laying the foundations for hopefully a long journey of academia for the next generation.

Sam Gyimah

It was lovely to also meet up with fellow bloggers Helen of Actually Mummy and Emily of A Mummy Too at the event, where we chatted, ate and mingled with lots of interesting childcare providers from all walks of life, all incredibly passionate about young children, their huge potential, and offering them the very best future.


childcare providers

Childcare Minister Sam Gyimah started off proceedings-

Sam Gyimah

I wanted to share some of the highlights from his speech here and I must add Sam was clear that much more progress was needed to be made and the difficulties we face as parents and childcare provisions can be tough for most:

‘The importance of childcare is huge in a child’s development and upbringing – that’s why we all have a moral mission to get it right.

As childcare minister, I’ve been privileged to travel all over the country meeting with providers. The consistently high bar they set made me want to put on an event to say ‘thank you’ for the work they are doing.

I am very proud of what we have all achieved during this Parliament to make sure parents can make the best possible childcare choices for their families’

I was amazed to hear that research shows that a pre-schooled child has more chance of getting better exam results and ultimately earning higher wages than those not, according to a study published in September 9 2014.

‘The Effective Pre-School, Primary and Secondary (EPPSE) research shows children who go to pre-school are projected to earn £27,000 more during their career than those who don’t. They are also more likely to get better GCSE results – the equivalent of getting 7 Bs compared to 7 Cs’.

Speech by Sam Gyimah

I felt utterly inspired in that room among some of the finest childcare providers this country has to offer, and more so, determined to get Alexander, my youngest child aged 2 1/2,  who has struggled to settle at nursery, in to the right early learning environment for him by 3.

I believe a small, intimate environment would be best for him with hopefully carers and educators, just like the ones I met at the event, able to show him the love, care and early education he needs and craves, while I work.

It was also fascinating and fabulous to then hear from true raconteur, 5 Live radio presenter Rachel Burden on her juggle as a working mother of 3, whom like me, is dependant on her mum and nursery for childcare.

Radio 5 Live presenter Rachel Burden

Highlights included hearing from the childcare providers themselves-

Isle of Wight childminder Kerry Hiscock of Lugley Bugs Childcare inspired me to get my kids into the countryside more through the week as told of activities the kids in her care enjoy in the nearby forest.

Staffordshire Council’s Matt Bigg had seen a real difference with the childcare allowance for families with 2 year olds.

After the speeches had finished, the canopies eaten, Helen and I met MP Sam Gyimah, a funny, smart, charming man who I was impressed to say, had read all three of our blogs and was quite aware of the importance of bloggers.

MP event

I explained how my blogging career is full time but works on my time and terms, and Helen and I had the opportunity to explain how refreshing it is to work in a new world that shares our voices and offers us control of our careers.

parenting bloggers meet MP Sam Gyimah

chatting to MP SamIt was such an enlightening day and I truly appreciate how diverse my blogging life/career is, no one day is the same, one night sees me reviewing the opera, the next I’m covering fashion previews, going on review holidays, or like last week, attending government functions. I don’t take a second for granted either.

This space here, is where I share my life, the good and sometimes the bad with you, my loyal readers. It’s where my business lies and offers my family and I experiences we will treasure, always.

I’m not here to blog about my political views or encourage anyone to vote one way or another, I just wanted to share how honoured I felt attending this event in the presence of front-line care providers, those who love and live for their jobs, some of whom had worked in childcare for over 30 years or more and those people, men and women I’d met, had a truly profound effect on me, they made me want to be a more patient parent, a better blogger and all-round person. To be kinder to myself and mostly, to appreciate the shared juggle so many of us face as working parents, so reliant on family support (thank you Mum, I couldn’t do this without you) and the many childminders and nursery staff who enable women just like me to work and provide for our families.

As we left, Helen and I stopped and watched the guards changing immediately next to us on the other side of the gate.

Almost in touching distance.

I took a minute to drink it all up. Privileged indeed.

Thanks so much Sam for the day.

All photos c/o and copyright to the Press Office at the Department of Education.

Updated Post.


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18 Responses

  1. Tim

    Fascinating stuff. Interesting to hear more about what goes on, often unheralded, in the background behind the newspaper headlines. Politicians (not wholly undeservedly) get a bad press, but there’s a lot of good being done quietly too.

    • Honest mum

      Thanks Tim, yes, I came away feeling positive from the speeches childcare providers shared and the discussions I had with them at the event.

  2. christina

    What an exciting opportunity for you, thank you for sharing with us. This is my first time visiting, but your passion and advocacy of children will bring me back!

  3. Christine @ Yogaberry

    It’s great to see how diverse the blogging industry is! Great event that you got to attend there. My daughter is also 2 1/2 and as our families are in France and Germany we often struggle with childcare. Xx

    • honestmum

      There’s still more that needs to be done here too, Sam said it himself but the changes have helped some of the poorest families and we heard a lot of success stories. It was such an interesting day x

  4. Wave to Mummy

    Sounds like a great event! A very interesting and worthy topic to discuss too. Lancaster House is gorgeous – I went there for a conference a while back and it is absolutely beautiful, a real gem. Glad you got to enjoy it too 🙂

  5. fashion-mommy

    What an interesting event to attend. I personally feel we push our children towards formal education far too quickly, but it remains true to say there are some amazing childcare providers out there.


    • honestmum

      There are so many out there and looking at the statistics that starting at 3 in an educational environment however informal, makes a huge difference to further education was eye-opening x

  6. Dawn of the Dad

    Easily the most important topic when it comes to our fledglings. I am always reminded about how important it is with a couple of political speeches. “Education, education, Education!” And the three R’s “Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic”.

    • honestmum

      So very true, I come from a long line of teachers/lecturers (my folks set up restaurants later in life) so academia was drummed into us from a young age.

  7. John Adams

    I’ve met Sam Gyimah too. His career is definitely on an upswing and liked by Tory Party HQ. I’d have loved to have been to that event myself. *coughs* childminders do also enable an awful lot of dads to go to work also (though I would say that).

    • honestmum

      It really is so important to allow us to work. I don’t know what I’d do without my parents helping and next week my youngest trials at a new nursery.

  8. Michelle Reeves (bodfortea)

    What an amazing event to attend – I can see that it was really inspirational for you. I’m so grateful for the wonderful childcare our Little Man’s nursery provides (which lets me work too) and to see him flourish is in no doubt thanks to their dedication and patience – if only I could bottle some of that last one! A wonderful post Vicki, thank you xx #brilliantblogposts


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