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History of PACEY

History of the Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years

Since 1977 we have provided high quality support to our members and have worked with government, local authorities and others to raise standards.The organisation was formed in 1977 as the National Childminding Association, and we changed our name to PACEY in the spring of 2013.

The association was founded by a small group of registered childminders, local authority staff and parents. Since then, the charity has evolved to become the professional association it is today.

Why was the organisation needed?

In 1974, responsibility for registering childminders was moved from local authority health departments and health visitors to the new social services departments. At about the same time, Brian Jackson, a well known educationalist, began a research study into the incidence of illegal childminding in two northern cities. Publicity surrounding this study pointed out a large number of children being cared for in very poor circumstances; childminders receiving very little pay; low educational levels and poor support from local authorities.

A fierce debate was generated by the study. Jackson himself supported childminders on the grounds that they were a community-run service and most provided high standards of care against all the odds. He recommended a "Childminders' Charter" together with much better pay and conditions and a wider recognition of their important role in society.
Jackson went on to create an educational trust and initiated three National Childminding Conferences, held in Bradford, at which childminders and local authority workers from all over the country met for the first time.

By 1977 a number of registered childminders had formed themselves into groups to counter the poor image of childminding and campaign for a better deal. But they couldn't make progress because there was no "national voice" for childminders.

Coincidentally, the BBC was producing a programme called Other People's Children which invited childminders to say what they would like from a national association. By November that year, the first copy of the National Childminding Association membership magazine, Who Minds? was published and the inaugural meeting arranged.

Originally the association covered the UK, but the legal differences in Scotland and Northern Ireland led to other organisations - SCMA and NICMA – being established.

In 2003, the association recognised that many nannies were experiencing the same challenges as childminders had in the 1970s and that it could use its experience to provide membership support to nannies and well as childminders. NCMA launched its first dedicated nanny membership package in 2004.

With the introduction of the Early Years Foundation Phase in England in 2008 , a single registration and inspection framework was established for all registered childcare settings. Over time the association began to see the training and support it delivered to childminders becoming relevant to individuals in group settings too. In 2010, the association’s Board started to explore whether the association could better grow recognition of the professionalism of its members and respond to the changing environment they worked in, by establishing itself as a standard setting professional association. It also identified a support and knowledge gap for individuals working in nurseries and pre-school, especially in the early stages of their childcare career. Research with this community of childcare professionals identified they shared common challenges and concerns with childminders and nannies. Following extensive consultation and research, the Board decided NCMA was well placed to support nursery workers and to develop a membership package for them.

In doing so, the Association would be able to work towards becoming a standard setting professional association for everyone in childcare and early years, ensuring it had a stronger voice for all its members. As part of this change, NCMA decided to change its name, to better recognise its membership included childminders, nannies and nursery workers and to grow recognition of the professionalism of all its members. After further consultation, NCMA company members agreed to change its name to the Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years, in October 2012. A name that reflects member feedback that they wanted professionalism reflected in the name as well as early years and childcare.

PACEY was officially launched in Spring 2013 and, at the same time, welcomed nursery workers for the first time. Together we are growing to become the professional association for everyone in childcare and early years.

Want to be part of PACEY? Join online here or if you’re already a member login to MyPACEY