What a fabulous pat on the back for Early Years that five women involved in the sector have been singled out to receive awards in this year's Queen's birthday honours.
In fact around one in 10 of the 2018 honours have been awarded to those either working, volunteering or involved in education.
The Queen's birthday honours list recognise the achievements and service of people across the UK. An honours committee makes recommendations to the Prime Minister and then to the Queen, who awards the honour.
This year the Prime Minister provided a strategic steer to the Main Honours Committee that the honours system should support children and young people to achieve their potential, enhance life opportunities, remove barriers to success and work to tackle discrimination.
According to daynurseries.co.uk [https://www.daynurseries.co.uk/news/article.cfm/id/1596548/Nursery-manager-surprised-and-excited-to-get-MBE] Susan Campbell, Principal of Magherafelt Nursery School in Northern Ireland, has received a Member of the British Empire (MBE) for services to education. Inspectors rated her nursery ‘outstanding’ four times, the most recent in April 2017.
Ms Campbell began her Early Years career in 1981, teaching at Trinity Nursery School while studying for a Masters degree in Education. She was appointed the manager of Steeple Nursery School in Antrim in 1985 and in 1992 became Principal of Magherafelt Nursery School - a position she has held for 26 years.
A playgroup leader in Dumfries and Galloway, in Scotland, is also among those honoured by the Queen. Marie Dunbar, playgroup leader at St Columba's Playgroup, received a British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to Early Years education.
Others working in the Early Years sector who will be making a trip to Buckingham Palace include childminder Tracy Abnett, a volunteer for the Early Years charity Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years (PACEY). Ms Abnett has been awarded a BEM for services to Early Years education.
She will be joined at the palace by another PACEY volunteer Sarah Edwards, who retired last year as the organisation's Volunteer Engagement Officer, also awarded a BEM for her services to Early Years Education.
But the accolades for PACEY don’t stop there, as the president of PACEY Penny Tassoni, an acclaimed Early Years trainer and author, has received an MBE for services to Early Years education.
Liz Bayram, PACEY Chief Executive, said: “PACEY benefits from the generous support of so many volunteers who share our passion for Early Years and help us champion childcare. We thank them in many different ways but – every now and then – our board recognises the dedicated service of some of our long-standing volunteers by nominating them for British Honours.
“So we are delighted that our nominations for Penny Tassoni, Sarah Edwards and Tracy Abnett have been recognised. Each of them have supported thousands of PACEY members over the years. We remain fortunate that Penny is our President, with the varied demands this places on her free time. Both Sarah and Tracy no longer work for PACEY but continue to support childminders in their local community and undertake other voluntary work. We wholeheartedly congratulate them on their well-deserved Honours.”
Let me also add my congratulations to all five women who are wonderful ambassadors for the sterling work undertaken by everyone in the Early Years sector.