Shannon Pite is Communications and External Affairs Director for the Early Years Alliance – the largest and most representative early years membership organisation in England, representing 14,000 members, supporting them to deliver care and learning to over 800,000 families every year.
After training and working as a journalist, Shannon joined the Early Years Alliance in 2012 as editor of Under 5 magazine, before moving into the organisation’s press and public affairs team and then leading on communications and external affairs.
Shannon’s role incorporates everything from campaigns and government engagement to social media to print and digital communications, as well as leading on press and media work and ensuring that Early Years Alliance members and the wider sector are kept up to date on all government guidance changes.
She is also the mother of a young daughter, so is getting to watch the magic that is early development happening in real time as well, which she says ‘is brilliant and exhausting in equal measures!’
In this interview, Shannon explains the importance of government representation for the Early Years sector, which plays a crucial role in supporting families and providing education for young children. She discusses the many reports and surveys that the Early Years Alliance produces to raise awareness of issues affecting the sector, such as mental health, recruitment, special educational needs and retention of staff, and the follow-up report on mental health in the Early Years workforce.
Shannon explains how the government’s 4-billion-pound investment in the Early Years sector is still inadequate to meet the funding rates needed and the steps that the Early Years Alliance is taking to raise awareness of this.
Shannon emphasizes the need to support and safeguard the individuals who work in the sector, who are often underpaid and overworked, and highlights the importance of recognizing the Early Years sector as a crucial part of the education system and how the government needs to provide policies that support high-quality provision.
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