The Incredible Power of Words

Can writing make a difference? Can words encourage someone to think differently, or even change a person’s mind? It’s an interesting question to ponder. Given that I’m a writer, I have always sincerely hoped so. But sometimes it’s really cool to be proved right.

I couldn’t stop smiling last night. Because news had filtered through that Nick Clegg will force the government to scrap its plans to increase ratios in the early years sector. Ironically, at our preschool we have never and would never use the ratios that already exist (one adult to thirteen 3 and 4 year old children). But that doesn’t stop me being completely delighted that no provider, whatever their situation, will be able to put four tiny babies or six 2 year olds in the care of a single person.

Writing is about finding your voice, as I talked about here. But you need some inspiration to get you started. The first incarnation of this blog was as a blog about education (‘Lighting a Fire’ – 6 weeks – RIP). And the subject that literally ‘lit a fire’ under me was Childcare Minister Liz Truss and her comments about ‘chaotic nurseries’. It inspired me to write this and it inspired many many other early years practitioners and providers to write as well. The words literally poured out: in responses to the original consultation, in blog posts, in articles on websites, in Tweets, in petitions, in fact everywhere and anywhere that the sector’s voice might be heard.

This is now a blog about writing, rather than about education, and so I would like to pay tribute here to all those who have spoken out together against the proposals. Perhaps this might even serve as a lesson for other sectors within education? That the power of a united voice can be an incredible force for change.

I’m bound to miss many names (or ‘voices’) off the following list, but I would like to pay tribute to the huge range of people and organisations who harnessed the incredible power of words to make a difference for the children in their care. (Please let me know if you know of any names that I should add to this list.) On behalf of our babies and young children they deserve a massive vote of thanks.

The Pre-school Learning Alliance @pre_schoolla

The National Day Nurseries Association @ndnatalk

The Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years

Nursery World @NurseryWorld

Kids Allowed @KidsAllowed

Laura Henry @LauraChildcare

June O’Sullivan of the London Early Years Foundation @JuneOSullivan

Penny Webb @PSW26259

Childminding Forum @childminding

Sharon Hodgson MP @SharonHodgsonMP

Courteney Donaldson @courteneyccs

Nick Clegg @nick_clegg


Professor Cathy Nutbrown and her colleagues Jools Page and Peter Elfer

Leoarna Mathias

The National Union of Teachers (NUT)

Lincs Montessori @LincsMont

This entry was posted in Children, Communication, Early Years, Ratios, Writing. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to The Incredible Power of Words

  1. redpeffer says:

    Leoarna Mathias at has been very vocal in her opposition and very eloquent with it. Thanks from me to all of those who fought so hard to make their voices heard. Let’s hope we can do it with Education and Mr Gove too.


  2. Leoarna says:

    Thanks to Redpeffer for the mention, and great piece Sue – I’m also thrilled about how the calm dignified campaigning of the sector paid off!


  3. Pingback: A tribute to those who helped against the ratios

  4. What a great acknowledgement of a team effort. Can we also acknowledge Cathy Nutbrown’s colleagues Jools Page and Peter Elfer for providing valuable research to help the cause. : )


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