Goodbye, and thank you

I’m pondering a lengthier post on the challenges to ECEC advocacy some point the line that will no doubt refer heavily to the work she has done over the past 6 years or so, but for now I just want to briefly (and sadly) note that Community Child-Care Co-operative announced today that their CEO Leanne Gibbs will be leaving the role in June.

Others that know Leanne far better than I will be in a better position to praise her work in that role. I’m literally writing this about 20 minutes after learning of the news, so for now I want to say a personal thank you to her for a couple of things.

Firstly, Leanne has on a number of occasions taken a risk in working with me in some speaking and writing capacities. Someone once said to me that I “don’t work well with others”, and while that is certainly true for many in the sector, I do want to work with organisations like CCCC that put children squarely at the centre of their work – even with the political risks that can follow. This is obviously a fairly self-interested thank you, but I will say it anyway!

Secondly, Leanne has guided CCCC through a challenging time for the sector. Large-scale reforms like the NQF, endless inquiries and Governments at a State and Federal hostile to any advocacy could have seen CCCC become neutered or soft-touch. Instead, their advocacy has become crystal clear and part of the national conversation. Check out their submission to the Productivity Commission as a fantastic example of accessible advocacy that tackles a wide range of complicated issues. CCCC has been the standard-bearer for greater investment in NSW preschools for what seems like forever, despite the potential impact on their relationship with the NSW Government.

Leanne leaves CCCC as the most courageous and consistently child-focused advocacy organisation in Australia. I’ll have to steal a favoured compliment from a long-term colleague of mine here, which I leave as the highest tribute I can offer:

Australia’s children thank you.

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Imagine: a vision for early childhood education in Australia

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Submissions to the Productivity Commission Inquiry into Childcare and Early Learning have now closed. The public submissions currently available are a mixed bag – calls for quality reform balanced by companies advertising their products, individuals saying that Mums should just stay at home with their kids and many pushes to extend subsidies to nannies.

But if you only read one submission, make it the incredible submission from Community Child Care Co-Operative NSW.

Simply titled “Imagine”, it takes the audacious strategy of challenging the terms of reference of the inquiry and asking the Commission to instead consider child-focused reforms.

No family in Australia is told that there is no place for their child in a school, and neither should they be told that there is no place for their child in an early education and care service.

As well as succinctly analysing the current structural issues facing the sector, the submission articulates clear steps forward to resolve them.

Critically, it directly challenges the market-based model that now dominates the sector. This is significant and necessary advocacy from CCCCNSW.

This is a must-read for anyone in the ECEC sector.