Timed just before the General Election, the Hertfordshire ECERS meeting was attended by representatives from 22 Local Authorities. A representative from Ofsted also joined the meeting, and we had our first international representation from NCB Northern Ireland.

Brenda Taggart's thought-provoking session 'Early Years in a Shifting Political Context' gave the group a chance to reflect on changes over the past years and priorities for future.

Faye Linskey from A+ Education gave an update on recent national developments, including an acknowledgement of the Environment Rating Scales in the new 'Code of Practice on the delivery of Free Early Years Provision for 3 and 4 year olds', and in the new guidance for Ofsted inspectors.

In the Local Authority session, two LAs shared their experiences with ECERS and the other Environment Rating Scales. Presentations are available below:
* Early Years Capital Funding ECERS Project (Helen Young, Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead)
* Early Years in Hertfordshire (Megan Wilcox and Caroline Chalke, Hertfordshire County Council)

Hilary Quincey, Jane Nolan and Janet Bellamy from Kent shared experiences from the Kent ECERS Project, and emphasised the importance of engaging practitioners in ECERS/ITERS projects. Sandra Mathers from A+ Education Ltd followed up with a practical discussion session on 'empowering lead practitioners' - slides available here.

The day ended with a lively discussion on the whether the extension to the ECERS-R (the ECERS-E) is an appropriate tool for use with childminders.

The full agenda for the Hertfordshire meeting can be downloaded here.