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Extended history of Early Education

1923-1933

  • 1923 June: Nursery School Association (NSA) formed at conference at Mather Training College, Manchester. First president Margaret McMillan; vice presidents included Ramsey McDonald, Bertrand Russell and Esther Lawrence; chairs Mrs Evelegh, vice chair Lilian de Lissa, honorary secretary Grace Owens
  • 1924 Scottish members joined the NSA
  • 1926 Birmingham branch of NSA set up
  • 1927 policy of forming branches to concentrate on local conditions was adopted at the AGM 
  • 1927 Archbishop of Canterbury’s commission on education urged that the church should lend its influence and active support to the nursery school movement
  • 1927  December: 29 members present at the first AGM of the Birmingham branch of the NSA
  • 1928 Chelsea Open Air established as a private nursery school by Dr Susan Isaacs
  • 1928 November: Arellian Nursery, the first nursery school in Northern Ireland, was opened in a church hall on the Donegall Road
  • 1929 South Wales and Monmouthshire branch of NSA formed at Barry
  • 1929 return of Labour Government. Joint education and health circular encouraged local authorities to open nursery schools and nine nursery schools were opened in England
  • 1929 NSA rent office in Bloomsbury and appoint a secretarial assistant for publicity
  • 1930 Conference supporting the 1929 circular was attended by representatives of 93 education authorities and 225 delegates
  • 1931 Arellian Nursery School re opened in brand new premises, and was the first purpose built nursery school in Northern Ireland

1933-1943

  • 1933 Hadow report supported nursery schools as a desirable adjunct to the national system of education. The report mentioned the need to provide nursery schools with garden playgrounds in housing schemes
  • 1934 Co operation between NSA and Save the Children Committee leads to 8 emergency open air nurseries in use
  • 1935 Aberdeen, Glasgow and Plymouth branches of NSA set up
  • 1936 McArthur Nursery School, the second nursery school in Belfast opened in a Methodist Church hall
  • 1936 NSA submitted memorandum to the Board of Education emphasising importance of nursery schools for all children, not just as a source of remedial work in slum areas or for the nurture of debilitated children
  • 1937 Belfast branch of NSA formed
  • 1937 First summer school of the NSA, held at Roehampton
  • 1938 Following a conference emphasising the need for all town planning schemes to include nursery schools, a questionnaire was organised by Lady Allen and sent to all NSA branches
  • 1938 with the threat of war imminent, NSA involved in arranging escorts and cars for the evacuation of 14000 children attending London nursery schools
  • 1940 joint circular from the Board of Education and Ministry of Health urged authorities in reception areas to set up nursery centres which would be eligible for 100% grant for upkeep and materials 
  • 1940 Edinburgh forms a branch of the NSA
  • 1940 NSA heavily involved in campaigning for adequately organised centres. Calls came to the NSA from all over the country for equipment to furnish the centres
  • 1940 NSA involved in first supplementary course for wartime nursery wardens. 
  • 1940 Thelma Marriot seconded from post of NSA secretary to the London County Council for three months to organise nursery centres
  • 1941 The campaign to secure better wartime provision for young children supported by the appointment of eight paid organisers thanks to a grant of £1700 received by Lady Allen
  • 1941 June: Nursery School Association sends out first News Letter to members
  • 1941 McArthur Nursery School in Belfast demolished in air raids. Subsequently rebuilt on new site and handed over to the Belfast Education Authority
  • 1941 NSA offers the Borough of Guildford the first pre fabricated Nursery Centre building of the country. The building consists of two nurseries with French windows opening on to a paved terrace, cloakroom and bathrooms, staff room and bed store
  • 1941 Dundee branch of NSA formed

1943-1953

  • 1943 September: Lady Allen welcomed the executive of the NSA to the new centre at Park Crescent. 
  • 1943 November: White Paper on Educational Reconstruction published. Association publishes pamphlet urging the practical recognition of the stage between 2 + 7
  • 1943 exhibition “Young Children in Wartime” organised.
  • 1943 film made for NSA “Double Thread”, of two wartime nurseries in Guildford. 
  • 1943 exhibition of nursery school education “Learning to Live” held at Harrods, Manchester and Kingston. Harrods exhibition visited by the Queen
  • 1944 Darlington and Londonderry branches of NSA opened
  • 1944 NSA centre club opens. Gwen Chesters appointed as Director
  • 1944 Education Act raises hopes by stating that local authorities should provide nursery schools, or, where more expedient, nursery classes for all children whose parents wanted them
  • 1944 NSA publishes a "Historical Record of the Nursery School Association of Great Britain from 1923-1944"
  • 1945 six new branches of NSA formed. Total number of branches now 76 with over 7000 members
  • Financial restrictions and post war bulge concentrated resources on new primary schools, and development of places for nursery school development in particular, severely restricted
  • 1946 Londonderry Branch of the NSA opened its pioneer Londonderry Nursery School. It had the unique distinction of being the only branch of the whole Nursery School Association of Great Britain and Northern Ireland actually to fund and run a nursery school
  • 1947 June: NSA changes from being the Nursery School Association of Great Britain to the Nursery School Association of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
  • 1947 Summer: Trustees of the Nuffield Foundation make a grant to enable the Department of Child Development, the University of London Institute of Education and the NSA to jointly appoint a research worker to report on suitable play materials for older children in nursery schools and younger children in infant schools. 
  • 1948 NSA building advisory panel designed a minimum cost nursery school building and the Ministry of Education approved the erection of a prototype at Cookham, Berkshire. An NSA publication "Designing the New Nursery Schools" describes the work of the committee in planning the new prototype
  • 1949 February: NSA holds a Silver Jubilee Exhibition at which photographs and graphs to show the development of Nursery Schools during the past 50 years were displayed
  • 1950 Summer: NSA film "It's a small world" completed and had its first official showing at the Hammer Theatre, Wardour Street in the presence of Mrs. Clement Attlee. The purpose of the film was to show to the public the place of nursery schools education in present day society
  • 1950 18th October: Exeter's first nursery school officially opened by Mrs. C.R. Attlee
  • Early 1950's Durham branch of NSA established
  • 1951 Spring: NSA invited to give written evidence to a committee set up by the Minister of Education "to enquire into the medical, educational and social problems relating to maladjusted children with reference to their treatment within the educational system"
  • 1952 Spring: NSA branches at Brighton, Nottingham, Nuneaton, Warwickshire,Weston Super Mare, Wigan and Kent all engaged in campaigning against the threatened closure of nursery schools and classes
  • 1952 December: thanks to swift and strenuous action, the threat to maintained nursery schools partially averted.

1953-1963

  • 1953 March: NSA branches now total 65
  • 1954 June: NSA newsletter reports that while the number of new nursery schools was still increasing, the government was still refusing to withdraw Circular 155 which banned the opening of new nursery schools
  • 1955 January: after 7 years spent raising money and sorting out legal issues, Glenbank Nursery School in Belfast was finally opened
  • 1955 March: the Hertfordshire branch of NSA, having been disbanded previously, reconvened at a public meeting, where Dorothy Gardener spoke on "The Educational Value of Nursery Schools". 
  • 1956 March:  NSA News Letter gives some small cause for encouragement as the figures for the number of nursery schools operating since the previous year had risen slightly. The number of  members of the NSA had also increased.
  • 1957 March: NSA News Letter reports increasing concerns  for nursery schools and classes, following the Ministry of Education Circular 313 on School Staffing and Reduction of Over-Large Classes
  • 1957 March: NSA second film strip, entitled "Gaining Experience through Play" is completed
  • 1960 the part time nursery school was instituted so providing some help for many more children
  • 1961 January NSA moves from 1 Park Crescent to 89 Stamford Street

1963-1973

  • 1964 since the publication of its first booklet in 1924, "Nursery Schools and the pre-school child",  the NSA  numbered series publications, has reached 79
  • 1965 local authorities allowed to open nursery classes for teachers' children to encourage qualified teachers to return to the classroom
  • 1967 Plowden Report "Children and their Primary Schools" urged the setting up of more nursery schools and classes especially in areas of social deprivation. 24 authorities were invited to submit proposals for the provision, expansion or improvement of nursery schools or classes, day nurseries and children's residential homes . As a result 16000 more nursery school places were made available
  • 1968  after 22 years Londonderry Nursery School moves premises following structural problems with old premises.
  • 1972 NSA changes its name and logo to British Association of Early Childhood Education (BAECE)

1973-1983

  • 1973 May Golden Jubilee Meeting of the NSA
  • 1973 July / August: 31st Annual Summer School of the NSA, held at St. Andrews, Fife
  • 1974 The National Association of Day Nurseries, founded in 1906, is incorporated with the NSA
  • 1975 BAECE Annual Report states that membership had increased and that there were now 90 local branches, an increase of 10 over the previous year
  • 1977 Apart from one nursery class, the Londonderry Nursery School still the only nursery school in the area
  • 1978 Three more nursery schools opened in Londonderry
  • 1979 working party formed to make fundamental review of BAECE

1983-1993

  • 1985 Aberdeen branch of BAECE celebrates its Golden Jubilee
  • 1985 BAECE head office moves from Kennington,Oval to Tabernacle Street eC2
  • 1988 Bury and Furness branches of BAECE established
  • 1988 Government inquiry into educational provision for under fives recommended that all children should be entitled to nursery education. 
  • 1988 BAECE head office moves from Tabernacle street to City View House
  • 1989 January: publication of the inquiry followed by government setting up another committee, to consider the quality and content of the educational experiences offered to three and four year old children (Rumbold inquiry) 
  • 1989 October: following outside evaluation of BAECE funded by a grant from the Charities Aid Foundation, a reorganisation of headquarters and committees gives an opportunity for officers, staff and members to work together to raise public awareness of early years' education
  • 1990 March: BAECE survey of nursery schools
  • 1990 September: the Rumbold Report, "Starting with Quality" looking at the quality of education experience of 3 and 4 year olds, published.
  • 1991 December: there were 52 BAECE branches

1993-2003

  • 1993 BAECE celebrates its 70th Anniversary with a reception at the House of Lords
  • 1994 the BAECE video " Our Present is Their Future; Quality in early Childhood Education " launched
  • 1995 BAECE joins with Boots in an Under Fives Project. Under Fives Fairs and workshops for parents held in four areas, and a series of ten topic sheets are published giving information on different aspects of child development and early childhood education. Success of pilot project seen in the readiness of Boots to inject further funding so that the project can be extended
  • 1996 January: the Government publishes the Desirable Outcomes for Children's Learning
  • 1996 April: Government launches Nursery Voucher Scheme in four areas, prior to rolling it out across the whole country in April 1997. BAECE submits a written memorandum to the Education and Employment Committee outlining its concerns.
  • 1996 September: the government announces a £1.4 million contract for the first in depth research into effective pre school education for three and four year old children to be undertaken in this country. The Chair of Early Education is invited to serve on the consultative group for this project.
  • 1996 October: Early Education gives oral evidence to the House Of Commons Select Committee for education and employment on the operation of the voucher system
  • 1997 July to August: Early Education presents The Hundred Languages of Children exhibition from Reggio Emilia at the Bethnal Green Museum of Childhood
  • 1998 Early Education head office moves from City View House to Cavell Street
  • 1998 the Early Childhood Education Forum, of which BAECE is a member, produces "quality in diversity in early learning"
  • 1999 October: government publishes Early learning goals.
  • 2000 February: Early Education represented on the QCA working groups who were developing additional guidance for the Early Learning Goals
  • 2000 June: with financial support from Boots, Early Education sees the launch at the House of Commons of "Living, Loving and Learning", an exhibition about children under three
  • 2000 October: Early Education involved at the start of a project Kidsmart by IBM. 
  • 2002 November: Early Education starts national survey into the nature and extent of outdoor provision in early years settings throughout the UK. The information gathered to be used to inform consultation with the government and other authorities and to guide further work.

2003-2013

  • 2003 BAECE celebrates its 80th Anniversary with The great Outdoors Art exhibition which opens at the Children's Gallery in Whitechapel. As the exhibition proves to be bigger than anticipated, Early Education creates a special gallery for the exhibition at the empty building next to head office at Cavell Street.
  • 2003 October: Early Education celebrates its 80th anniversary with a reception at the House of Lords.
  • 2004 Spring: head offices in Cavell Street opens new training and resources centre in the space next to the offices that was used during the summer for the art exhibition
  • 2006 July: Early Education makes a response to the consultation on the Early Years Foundation Stage
  • 2006 September: Early Education prints "Position paper 1" focussing on the importance of qualified early years teachers in children's centres and the key role they play in improving outcomes for all children
  • 2007 March: Early Education made a submission to The Primary Review, the most comprehensive review of primary education since the Plowden Report of 1967
  • 2007 March: Early Education receives a grant from the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation over two years to support the development of training materials and further training on young children's thinking, and a DCSF project grant to look at how nursery schools are used as centres of best practice by local authorities.
  • Early Education Annual Review 2007/2008 gives membership at over 7,100 across the UK, with 44 active branches.
  • 2008 November: Early Education prints "Position paper 2" focussing on the flexible offer and extension to the free early education entitlement offer.
  • 2009 September: Early Education publishes a progress report "Implementing the Single Funding Formula : How is it affecting you?"
  • 2009 December: Early Education drives forward Single Funding Formula campaign.
  • 2010 March: Early Education awarded funding to work with parents and practitioners in the London Borough of Lambeth, and begins the project "P for Partnership".
  • 2010 Spring and Summer: Newham Outdoors research programme.
  • 2010 March: Single Funding Formula Campaign a success as Minister for Children announces delay to implementation.
  • 2010 Early Education responds to the Independent Review on Poverty and Life Chances led by Frank Field.
  • 2011 March: the Tickell review of the EYFS is published.
  • Early Education responds to the Northern Ireland early Years (0-6) Strategy consultation.
  • 2011 Early Education launches Associates programme.
  • 2011 Early Education publishes "How children learn", and adds to the existing "The sky is the limit" publications by producing 10 further leaflets.
  • 2012 Early Education continues in its role of supporting early years practioners by publishing "Development Matters in the Early Years Foundation Stage" and "Understanding the revised early Years Foundation Stage".
  • 2013 Early Education releases three new books:"I am two! Working effectively with two year olds and their families", "Schemas and the characteristics of effective learning" and "Emerging, expected and exceeding: understanding the revised Early Years Foundation Stage Profile".
  • 2013 To celebrate our 90th Anniversary, all members received a special revised and updated edition of "The Educational Value of the Nursery School".

2014-Present

  • 2014 Early Education publishes the new book: "Enabling environments on a shoestring".
  • 2014 Early Education revises and reprints "More than numbers" and "The great outdoors", with "More than ICT" following in 2015.
  • 2015 Early Education publishes the new book: "Every child a mover".
  • 2015 March: Early Education publishes "Achieving Excellence in the early years: a guide for headteachers", launching the publication at a conference in London, and following up with another successful conference in Sheffield in December.
  • 2015-16 Early Education runs a Department for Education funded project to support and evaluate strategies for implementing the Early Years Pupil Premium, culminating in six dissemination events and the publication of the booklet "Practical tips on allocating Early Years Pupil Premium funding" in March 2016.
  • 2016 Early Education launches a Liverpool branch.
  • 2016 Early Education's first eBook is published, with Nancy Stewart's How Children Learn made available in a digital format for the first time.
  • 2016-17 Early Education collaborates with Learning Through Landscapes on an action research project led by the London Borough of Newham, a follow-up project to Newham Outdoors, entitled Outdoors and Active. There are lots of free downloadable resources made available as well as a booklet published in 2017 containing resources from the project.
  • 2017 Early Education publishes the new book: "Foundations of Being".
  • 2017 Early Education moves office from Cavell Street to Clarendon Road