Podcast: “Educators, not glorified babysitters”

Centre for Employment Relations, Innovation and Change

Childcare during covid logo

The Covid-19 pandemic has shown the value of the Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) sector as part of the country’s infrastructure, yet ECEC workers remain undervalued. Drs Helen Norman and Nathan Archer talk to Neil Leitch, Chief Executive at the Early Years Alliance, about how the pandemic has affected the Early Years sector and what the priorities for change are. 

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This episode is part of a research project exploring the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on early years education and childcare across England and Wales, led by Professors Kate Hardy and Jennifer Tomlinson at the University of Leeds. The project is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council as part of the UK Research & Innovation’s rapid response to COVID-19. 

This podcast episode was recorded remotely in August 2021. If you would like to get in touch regarding this podcast, please contact research.lubs@leeds.ac.uk. A transcript of this episode is available. 

About the speakers:  

Helen Norman is a Senior Research Fellow in the Centre for Employment Relations, Innovation and Change at Leeds University Business School. Her research focuses on fathers and fatherhood, the gendered division of labour and gender inequalities in work, employment and family life. Helen is also interested in mothers' and their work-care trajectories after having children, as well as cross-national variations of work, employment and care practices.   

Nathan Archer is a Post Doctoral Researcher in the Centre for Employment Relations, Innovation and Change at Leeds University Business School. His research focusses on the professional identities of early childhood educators and how these are constructed in workforce reform policy and in practice.  

Neil Leitch is head of the largest voluntary sector childcare operator in the UK, representing 14,000 nurseries, pre-schools, and childminders. The Early Years Alliance (EYA) also supports more than 800,000 families. Before joining the EYA, Neil held several senior posts within the financial and commercial environment including chair of the Finance Industry Standards Association.  

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