“It was my duty to prove that just because you are poor you need not accept poor quality and a lack of ambition.”
June’s personal experience, as a young single Mum, was the catalyst for her to prove that it is possible to run great nurseries in disadvantaged areas and finally change the status quo that poor neighbourhoods should receive the poorest nursery education.
When appointed CEO of a small local charity which depended on local authority grants, June realised that this model was neither sustainable nor a disrupter to the status quo. People would be unlikely to raise funds for nursery education, seeing it either as a parent or the state responsibility and no organisation could depend indefinitely on the Government or the local authority for financial sustainability.
June saw the need for something completely different – a new model for outstanding nurseries which could operate in poor neighbourhoods, offer the highest quality education with a specialist pedagogy, employ and train staff from local diverse communities and, most of all, have a social conscience at its heart.
Key successes under June’s direction include: LEYF’s awarding winning pedagogy, embracing the theory and practice of teaching; spearheading a national campaign to recruit more men into the sector, recognising that gender balanced workplaces are good for children; establishing the Ofsted Big Conversation to build a positive conversation with the regulator across the UK and helping tackle childhood obesity (the UK’s biggest public health crisis – 12% of toddlers are now two stone overweight).
In fact, LEYF has created the first ever chef qualification module for nurseries, which advises on nutrition and healthy food for children.