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The All Party Parliamentary Group for Childcare and Early Education brings together Parliamentarians and leading members for the childcare and early education sector to promote and facilitate discussion on key policy issues.

About the Group

The APPG for Childcare and Early Education was constituted in September 2017 as a timely response to a growing number of issues facing the sector, including the Government’s 30-hour ‘free’ childcare policy, business rates, and VAT. This cross-party group provides a forum to constructively examine and debate the role that policy makers can play to support childcare and early education providers, and to help ensure that every child gets the best start in life.

Contact the Group

Connect provide the Secretariat to the Group on behalf of the Group sponsors. For information on Connect’s clients, please visit the PRCA Register.

If you have any questions or would like to find out more about the APPG, please contact us on 0207 592 9592 or email


This is not an official website [or Feed] of Parliament. It has not been approved by either House. APPGs are informal groups of Parliamentarians with a common interest in particular issues. The views expressed are those of the group.

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Chair: Steve Brine MP

The Group is chaired by Steve Brine who has been the Member of Parliament for Winchester & Chandler’s Ford since 2010.

He has a long-standing interest in education and early years development of our young people.

Steve is a former Public Health Minister passionate about prevention and the wider early years agenda focused on child development in the first 1001 days and the setting in which they receive early education.

Working with the sector and colleagues across Parliament, he wants to see a sustainable early years sector the produces a safe, high quality education run by a valued professional workforce.

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Vice Chair: Ian Mearns MP

Ian Mearns MP was elected as the Labour Member of Parliament for Gateshead in 2010, having previously served as a Gateshead councillor from 1983. During this period, he chaired Gateshead Council’s Education Committee. In Parliament, Ian served as a member of the Education Select Committee between 2010 and 2019, and again from 2020 to present. He is also a member of the Liaison Committee and Chair of the Backbench Business Committee.

Ian often speaks in the House on issues relating to childcare and education, contributing to debates on educational poverty and the Schools Bill. As well as serving on the APPG for Childcare and Early Education, Ian is also a Vice-Chair of the APPG on Nursery Schools, Nursery and Reception Classes.

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Vice Chair: The Lord Bishop of Durham

The Lord Bishop of Durham took his seat in the House of Lords as a Lord Spiritual in December 2013 during his tenure as Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham. He trained for ordained ministry at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford from 1980 to 1983, joining the priesthood in 1984 at All Saints with Holy Trinity in Wandsworth. His Grace acts as Advocate for Children amongst the bishops of the Church of England and is chairman of the Churches National Safeguarding Committee.

His Grace’s main interests in Parliament include education, communities and families, and social services. He has spoken previously about the problems facing the children of families claiming Universal Credit or who are unemployed, advocating for action to prevent children falling into poverty. He is also a trustee of Safe Families for Children.

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Vice Chair: Lord Watson of Invergowrie

Lord Watson was elected as Co-Chair of the APPG for Childcare and Early Education in June 2022 after a long association as a supporter of the APPG. A former Labour MP for Glasgow Central and MSP for Glasgow Cathcart, he was raised to the Peerage in 1997 and regularly attends and contributes to the business of the Lords.

In September 2015 Lord Watson was appointed by then-Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn MP as the Shadow Minister for Education in the House of Lords. He continues to serve in this position under Sir Keir Starmer MP’s leadership and is a strong advocate for the early years sector and the importance of early education to a child’s development and future social mobility.

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Steps to sustainability

APPG publishes major report into financial sustainability of childcare providers and demands Government addresses funding shortfall in the Spending Review.

Upcoming event

Autumn Budget 2023 

Date: Tuesday 21 November

Time:114:00 – 15:00

Venue: Online via Zoom


On the eve of the Autumn Budget, the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Childcare and Early Education will look to the future of the sector and what we can expect from both the Government and the Opposition on funding and support. Chaired by Steve Brine MP, this meeting will also reflect on announcements from the King’s Speech earlier in November and assess the political discourse around the early years as we build up to the 2024 General Election. 


We will be joined by a variety of speakers including:

    Greg Smith MP, Member of Parliament for Buckingham
•    Sarah Ronan, Director of the Early Education and Childcare Coalition


This event will be broadcast live via Zoom. You can sign up to receive joining details by registering here. These will be distributed shortly before the event.


Please note, registrations for this event will close at 00:00 on Tuesday 21 November.

​If you have any questions please contact the Group’s secretariat at Connect via

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Group Sponsors

The Group is supported by a range of leading organisations from across the childcare and early education sector who help fund the running of the Group via its secretariat, Connect.

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