Wednesday: With music still ringing in my ears from last night's Bon Jovi concert, I join my usual commuting line from Rugby to London and arrive at the office at 8.45. The day is full of feedback from last week's annual general meeting and conference, attended by more than 800 people. It helped to reinvigorate our membership and, with people coming from right across the country, the conference reminded me why I enjoy working in the voluntary sector. It's a busy day, but emails are duly despatched - I find myself noting that this reactive style needs to be balanced with strategic concentration.
Thursday: The range of private, voluntary and maintained settings in the childcare market, and the many current initiatives in early years policy, are all combining to create change - not all of it good - and anxiety. We have lobbied hard on areas such as sustainability and workforce development, and enjoy joint work with civil servants to prepare new policy. Today we have a meeting with the Department for Children, Schools and Families about the implementation of the Early Years Foundation Stage framework and how our extensive reach can help. We do not always agree with the Government, but this facilitates the work we do on the ground and feeds our expertise up to decision-makers at a national level. I then head off to our Barnet branch for an event to celebrate its 40th birthday. A great day for the volunteers, staff and 1,500 children, although I do feel slightly overdressed in my suit and tie.
Friday: A bad day for travel, with trains cancelled and even London cabbies asking which route they should take. More meetings with the DCSF, this time looking at the question of entitlement to free childcare. The issue has brought providers to their knees. The department must listen to them to get it right. I look forward to the weekend, to be spent at home on my farm, which requires maintenance - quite a contrast to London life.
Monday: Back into the fray after a restful weekend, during which I enjoyed the Euro 2008 final and re-felted a roof. The media is in overdrive this morning about a ministerial statement regarding the Early Years Foundation Stage. Planned and unplanned work require a superhuman effort but, thanks to good time management and a very able assistant, planning for both the trustees and senior management team meetings is all completed. Satisfying.
- The Pre-school Learning Alliance provides childcare and education.