The inspiration for the movement originally came from the researcher and writer Wendy Ellyatt, who had become increasingly concerned about the rapidly declining levels of child wellbeing and the erosion of modern childhood. She was joined by the Montessorian and ex Chairperson of the Psychosynthesis & Education Trust, Kim Simpson and they were supported by a number of other colleagues, including the author Sue Palmer and the team behind the very successful OpenEYE Campaign.
The movement was established as a Not-for-Profit Company Limited by Guarantee and was subsequently supported by changing teams of talented volunteers, all of whom gave their time for free.
Having heard about the initiative, the Quakers donated their largest London conference venue for the launch and in April 2013 twenty top speakers and two hundred and fifty hundred delegates came together to share their own thoughts and concerns at the 2013 Flourish Summit. The movement then rapidly brought around it an impressive and multi-disciplinary Advisory Board of forty globally renowned experts, together with the patronage of the passionate advocate for childhood, Sir Al Aynsley-Green.
In the same year, in order to challenge England’s over-early school starting age and to combat the downward pressures of the schooling system, it launched the ‘Too Much, Too Soon’ Campaign, which quickly achieved front-page coverage in all the national press.
In 2014 the movement launched National Children’s Day UK (NCDUK) with the aim of involving as many people as possible to create events and activities that highlight and celebrate the Rights and Freedoms of Children. By 2016 NCDUK had attracted more than 100 partners, was the recipient of two National Lottery grants, had helped to raise £542,000 for disadvantaged children and had achieved a maximum Facebook reach of 3.2 million.
In the interim Wendy brought together and chaired the highly effective coalition of leading early years organisations behind the very successful ‘Better with Baseline’ Campaign (that blocked the introduction of Baseline Assessment for four-year olds) and acted as a strategist for the Primary Assessment ‘More than a Score’ Campaign.
The movement also produced a number of highly regarded publications such as the Putting Children First Manifesto, The Children’s Charter of Developmental Rights and the paper ‘Towards an Integrated Understanding of the Child’.
Until now the movement has received little external funding and has been reliant on the skills and generosity of successive teams of volunteers. It has been the recipient of two £10,000 national lottery grants for National Children’s Day UK.
Over the four years that the movement has been in existence, and applying only the living wage, it has been calculated that the voluntary time donated so far exceeds £120,000. If all the experts around the project were paid their normal wage this would rise to £400,000.
Achievements since the launch
- Launched in April 2013
- Sir Al Aynsley-Green as the first patron
- Multidisciplinary Advisory Board (forty globally renowned experts)
- Established National Children’s Day UK (NCDUK) as a nationally significant annual event
- Developed a large number of successful collaborations and partnerships
- High profile ambassadors including the National Children’s Laureate and the Children’s Dramatist.
- Rapidly growing social media presence – now regularly achieving 100-200,000 views, with a current maximum reach for NCDUK of 3.2 million
- Highly regarded publications including the ‘Putting Children First’ Manifesto and the ‘Children’s Charter of Developmental Rights’.
- Led the strategic development of a highly successful English Early Years Coalition
- Developed a nationally recognised campaign with increasing political influence
- Developed the concept for the first International Festival of Childhood (IFOC2017)
Towards an Integrated Understanding of the Child
The Unique Child, the Impact of Culture and how we foster Human Wellbeing
The Democratisation of Learning
Putting Childhood First
Seven Priorities for Early Years Policymaking
Children’s Outdoor Charter of Rights
Children’s Charter of Developmental Rights