Last reviewed 14 May 2021
At the State opening of Parliament, the Queen’s speech outlined the Government’s priorities for the year ahead, including measures to support children in the early years.
Speaking in the House of Lords, the Queen said that measures will be brought forward to ensure that children have the best start in life, prioritising their early years. She also said ministers will address lost learning during the pandemic and ensure every child has a high-quality education and is able to fulfil their potential.
The briefing notes to the Queen’s Speech 2021 states that the Government is:
delivering on its manifesto commitment to roll out family hubs, which bring services together
encouraging all local authorities to publish a clear Start for Life offer for parents and carers, showing families what support they can expect to receive during the 1,001 critical days
designing digital, virtual and telephone services around the needs of families with babies, including digitising the Personal Child Health Record – commonly known as the Red Book by April 2023
developing a modern, skilled workforce to meet the changing needs of families with babies, looking at new ways to support, train and retain skilled professionals
implementing a wide range of policies to improve child health including a childhood obesity plan, transformation of children’s mental health and maternity services
putting together a package of measures to ensure no child is left behind as result of the education and extracurricular activities they may have missed out on.
Commenting on the speech, Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Early Years Alliance, said:
"While we warmly welcome the reference to new early years measures in today’s Queen’s Speech, it remains to be seen what these will look like in practical terms.”
"The government has made clear its intention to provide greater support to new parents and children in the first 1,001 days, but if we are ever to close the disadvantage gap and make sure that all children are given the best possible start in life, ministers must also commit to ensuring that early education providers are given the funding they need to deliver affordable, sustainable, high-quality care and education over the long term.”
“Many early years professionals remain deeply concerned about the impact of the pandemic on young children’s social and emotional development. As such, it’s vital that the measures announced today include a significant uplift in the amount of recovery funding afforded to under-fives – the majority of which attend PVI settings – if we are to offer every child of the pandemic the same chance to succeed as those born at any other time."
The full Queen’s Speech and briefing notes on the Government’s plans are available here.