Penny Mordaunt Visits Tops Portsmouth for World Book Day

Penny Mordaunt MP joined Diane Wycherley, Operations Director of Tops Day Nurseries, to participate in World Book Day and spend time reading and interacting with the children as well having discussion on the importance of the Early Years sector and expansion of the funded spaces for children being rolled out from April 2024.

Tops Day Nurseries QA based at Queen Alexandra’s Hospital in Cosham have spent the last week promoting the importance of reading in the Early Years and invited local MP Penny to read a story to the children as part of this.

Tops Day Nurseries, a nursery chain with over 30 nurseries across the South, actively encourage reading in the Early Years and understand the value of reading at a young age. To spread this message further they invited Penny Mordaunt, MP for Portsmouth North, to visit the nursery.

During her visit Penny read last tree in the city. The children thoroughly enjoyed it and loved the interactions and questions Penny posed during the reading. They felt they could be fully involved in the story.

World Book Day takes place every year and is a celebration of the power of sharing stories. Stories teach us about the world, they allow us to step into someone else’s shoes and feel empathy, they help us to relax and can help develop essential literacy skills.

Diane and Penny Mordaunt discussed:

  • The new extended funding for children from aged 9 months and the gap in funding rate vs the cost of childcare that still remains despite recent increases.
  • Inadequate portal (Synergy) for funding applications and payments resulting in long delays in payment and significant damage to cash flow.
  • Lack of funding for SEND children is hampering Tops’ ability to meet their needs.  We already have children with autism, those going through diagnosis and children on EHC Plans – overloaded.  No funding at all for diagnosis unlike schools!
  • There is now a national shortage of nursery staff which is reducing availability of nursery places, and damaging the quality of education.
  • Means testing for funding for early years places and funding could enable all children to attend for 30 hours instead of just those whose parents are working.
  • The very heavy load of paying business rates.
  • The land and water pollution being caused by water companies allowing sewage into the environment, causing sickness, and stopping children’s access to the seas, and the one use plastic and micro plastics now in our food chain causing infertility and disease in humans and injuring and killing birds, whales, turtles, dolphins.
  • Air pollution, which is causing asthma and lung disease in small children. (several staff and children attending Tops QA suffer from asthma)
  • The lack of option to chose oat milk, fruit and vegetables instead of dairy milk in English nurseries, despite some children being dairy intolerant, and obesity being a major problem for increasing numbers of children.
  • Waste costs of disposable nappies being 4% of the domestic rates bill for everyone plus £1000 per nursery p.a.  Should have a washable nappy programme for all day nurseries in Bournemouth – funding available from the EU.
  • The positive impact that Tops Day Nurseries (Queens Award) has on children and their families lives in Portsmouth, good and outstanding teaching, healthy, safe environments. 

Final Thoughts:

Speaking after the official opening event, Diane Wycherley said: Children do not have a vote, and need us all to represent them and their needs for the future, so it was great to be able to share our concerns for them with Penny.

Penny Mordaunt commented: It was a pleasure to meet the children and staff of Tops QA.   Education of the youngest children in our community is of concern to us all, as they are the future, whether they become lawyers, farmers, NHS staff, politicians or occupations still unknown. Giving children the best start possible is one of the best investments we can make in our community and country.

Posted in: General, Tops Company News