Morris sets sights on cultural change to lift status of children’s workforce

Former education secretary Estelle Morris this week signalled
her aim to raise the status of the children’s workforce.

But Morris, the new chair of the Children’s Workforce
Development Council (CWDC), warned her ambition could only be
realised through more investment in training in social care, child
care and early years.

Her appointment to the two-day-a-week job has been welcomed in
the sector, with her influence in government and her openness
highlighted as key qualities.

Morris, who takes up the post this month, said her priority was
to “help to change the culture in this country so that we act on
the belief that working with children is one of the most important
things people can do”.

This required forging a common identity across a disparate
workforce, she said. On training resources, she added: “I’m
satisfied with what the government has made available but our
ambitions need to be bigger than that.”

Few believe she will be too close to government.

Lisa Harker, chair of child care charity Daycare Trust, said:
“I’m not in the slightest bit worried about that. I think Estelle
has proved herself to be her own woman.”

David Hawker, chair of the Association of Directors of Education
and Children’s Services, said her clout with government would help
to attract resources for the workforce. “She’ll be able to use her
friendships to good effect. The CWDC will need high-level
champions,” he added.

Morris said: “I’d not want the job if people thought I had got
it because I was an ex-minister. But I know how government works
and I think that will be important.”

Jane Haywood, head of the Department for Education and Skills’
children and youth division, has been appointed chief executive of
the CWDC.

As a divisional manager, with responsibilities covering youth
services and the Children’s Fund, Haywood holds relatively senior
rank in the DfES.

She also runs a small charity providing camping holidays for
children in Kirklees, West Yorkshire.
Haywood said her priority was to formulate a “robust” response to
the government’s children’s workforce strategy, which was put out
to consultation last month.

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