On Friday, 7 February 2020, over 140 leaders from Early Learning and Childcare attended our “Inspiring Leadership in the Early Years” conference at the Marryat Hall, Dundee. The event aimed to offer Early Learning and Childcare leaders from across Tayside the opportunity to network with colleagues, reflect on their practice and further their expertise in their roles.
“Leadership is really important in all settings and in Early Years settings in particular because as leaders we are able to be the beacon that lights the way for the kind of experiences our children will receive, and also for creating the conditions to allow our children to achieve the best outcomes possible.”
Our first key speaker, Sarah Philp, delivered an inspirational leadership session around collaboration and gave the audience opportunities to network and engage in professional dialogue to reflect on their role in the expansion of Early Learning and Childcare. She spoke about making improvements and that collective efficacy would ensure that we all made a difference to the lives of our children and young people. When asked about the importance of developing leadership skills, Sarah said “leadership is really important in all settings and in Early Years settings in particular because as leaders we are able to be the beacon that lights the way for the kind of experiences our children will receive, and also for creating the conditions to allow our children to achieve the best outcomes possible.”
At the event, we also heard from the Care Inspectorate team, who delivered messages around “Leading Quality into 2020 and Beyond”. The team spoke about their new improvement team and what offers are available to Early Learning and Childcare practitioners to support improve their skills and knowledge. They also shared some reflections on recent inspections and highlighted environment, interactions and lunch experiences as key areas to consider. During their speech, the Care Inspectorate team shared the Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale document as well as introducing the SOFI Tool, which they have been using on inspection.
Angie Blacklaw, Senior Early Years Practitioner at Woodlea Children’s Centre in Dundee, mentioned that she attended the event to get a further outlook into collaborative leadership. “We’ve had the opportunity today to kind of talk, reflect on myself as a leader and also reflect on the setting and the staff and where we are in our own collaborative leadership – and I feel like I’ve been given practical tools to share with the staff team, with the headteacher, with everybody to really look at where we are and really think about it. I think it has been really quite inspirational, and interesting and engaging and it gave us the opportunity to go back and further really where we are in our leadership, so we are really looking forward to that.