Naomi Eisenstadt

Naomi Eisenstadt CB has been active in policy and practice in the field of early years for over thirty years. She has a first degree in sociology, an MSc in Social Policy, and a California Credential in Early Childhood Education. She was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Open University in 2002, and the CB in 2005.

After spending several years working first in nurseries and then in management positions in children’s charities, in 1999 Naomi became the first director of the Sure Start Unit. Starting out in the civil service with responsiblity for Sure Start local programmes, her portfolio grew over seven years to include early education, childcare, parenting policy, and extended schools. She then spent one year as the Secretary of State’s Chief Adviser on Children’s Services. Her last three years before leaving the civil service were as Director of the Social Exclusion Task Force. A key achievement in the Task Force: was the publication of ‘Think Family’, a series of policy proposals on the interaction of parent circumstances on their children’s outcomes. DfE have accepted the main recommendations and have published guidance on the ‘Think Family’ approach. Other relevant projects were: a research project on the relationship between young people’s aspirations, their neighbourhood environments and educational outcomes; and a short research project on women in the criminal justice system.

Naomi’s key interests are in children’s services, poverty and its impact on children, and family policy. She will be working jointly with the Department of Education and the Social Policy Department while at Oxford. She has recently written a book on Sure Start, published by Policy Press.

Naomi Eisenstadt profile


  • Honorary Research Fellow

Research groups

  • Families, Effective Learning and Literacy (FELL)