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Naomi Eisenstadt

Honorary Research Fellow, Department of Education, University of Oxford

After a long career in the voluntary sector working mainly on child poverty issues, Naomi Eisenstadt became the first Director of the Sure Start Unit, which she ran for 7 years. The Unit was responsible for delivering in the government’s commitment to free nursery education places for all three and four year olds, the national childcare strategy, and programmes aiming to reduce the gap in outcomes between children living in disadvantaged areas and the wider child population. This was later extended to developing policy on parenting support, and a greatly enhanced delivery system for the provision of extended services for families with school aged children, including childcare and school based family support.

After Sure Start, Naomi spent 3 years as the Director of the Social Exclusion Task Force working across government to identify and tackle policy barriers that increase the likelihood of exclusion, and to design new policies to reduce the exclusion faced by some of the most disadvantaged individuals, families, and groups. Naomi retired from the civil service in 2009 and is currently a Senior Research Fellow in the Departments of Education and Social Policy, University of Oxford. She has published several articles on early years and the book, Providing a Sure Start. She was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Open University in 2002 and became a CB in 2005.


  • 2006–2009
    Director, Social Exclusion Task Force, Cabinet Office, HM Government
  • 2006–2009
    Director, Social Exclusion Task Force, Cabinet Office, HM Government
  • 2006–2006
    Chief Advisor on Children's Services, Department for Education


  • 1981 
    Cranfield University, MSc Social Policy
  • 1972 
    University of California San Diego, BA Sociology


  • 2012
    Poverty and Social Disadvantage and Young Children, article in Policy Issues in the Early Years, Russell Sage
  • 2011
    Providing A Sure Start, how Government discovered early childhood, Policy Press


Companion of the Bath, Honorary Doctorate, Open University.