Speakers

An exceptional lineup of speakers from across the early years, has been assembled by Nursery World to deliver a vibrant, educational and inspiring mix of CPD certified seminars and masterclasses. The full list of speakers and their biographies is available here.

Dr Caspar Addyman

Caspar Addyman is a Lecturer in Psychology at Goldsmiths, University of London. He previously spent 10 years working at Birkbeck Babylab. Caspar is a specialist in baby psychology with a particular interest in positive emotions in infancy. His Baby Laughter project has collected data and videos from parents all over the world and his book 'The Laughing Baby' is published by Unbound.

Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock

Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock is a scientist and broadcaster referred to as the BBC’s ‘face of space’. She is the presenter of the astronomical institution 'The Sky at Night', has fronted a number of space documentaries, and regularly appears on science and non-science programmes.

From a modest background and diagnosed with dyslexia, Maggie overcame the naysayers to study at Imperial College where she obtained her degree in Physics and a PhD in Mechanical Engineering. After her studies, she toured the UK speaking to inner-city schools about what scientists do and why and how to be one with the aim of inspiring the next generation of physicists.

Maggie is a research fellow and an Honorary Research Associate at University College London, and continues her work to engage the public with science. She augments her ‘Tours of the Universe’ presentations to young and old with regular TV and radio appearances.

As well as fronting 'The Sky at Night', Maggie has appeared in programmes including 'Stargazing Live', 'The Science of Doctor Who', and 'In Orbit: How Satellites Rule Our World'. An engaging and passionate speaker, Maggie’s enthusiasm for science and learning is infectious. As well as looking at the wonders of space and what it can teach us, she also tackles science education and public understanding, and women in science and engineering.


Carol Archer

Carol Archer is an Advisory Teacher in the London Borough of Camden and a Movement-Play Practitioner/Consultant in the UK and overseas. She has supported staff in Children’s Centres and at voluntary and private nurseries in implementing movement-play in their settings. Carol delivers central training and in-service training to staff working in early childhood education and care (ECEC) and early primary education. She has administered early and current versions of the MOVERS scale in a number of settings in order to assess quality.


Jan Bennett

Jan studied for her BSc Psychology, Zoology and Engineering at Liverpool University before completing her PGCE at Thames Polytechnic (now Greenwich University). Jan has taught all ages from three years to 11 years but her passion has always been early years. She later completed a Dip Ed SEN at Oxford University.

Jan has been in education for 25 years as a class teacher, a school improvement adviser for 11 years and has now returned to the fold as a headteacher at Effra Early Years Centre in Brixton.

Jan has been brought up with engineering through her father, science as her field of study and is married to a secondary science teacher. There was no escape! STEM is something she had almost unknowingly grown up with. Working with teachers across Lambeth and the staff team in her own school, she wants to develop STEM for young children to excite and empower young learners.


Stella Carefull

Stella studied Philosophy and Classics at university and travelled extensively in Asia before becoming a mother and discovering an interest in the education of young children, leading to a PGCE with Early Years specialism at South Bank University.

Stella has been a classroom teacher for 20 years, 18 of which were spent teaching at Effra Nursery School, Brixton.

Stella has a special interest in creative, explorative and investigative early years teaching, particularly in the outdoors and leads on outdoor and physical play, planning and developing the outdoor area; Forest Schools (BTec level 3 leader); Health and Wellbeing, including teaching children about growing and eating food (holding RHS gardening qualifications); Science/Understanding the World. Stella also writes bids for and manages grant funding to enable development of these areas.


Clare Crowther

Clare is Director of Atelier Nursery and has worked in childcare and education since 1995, and holds a BA Hons in Early Years Education (First) and Post Graduate in Leadership and Management.

Clare’s current role sees her lead the pedagogy and philosophy of both of the Atelier Nursery sites as well as taking responsibility for all operational elements of the outstanding and award winning settings.

Clare is an occasional contributor to trade journals and has contributed towards several publications as well as having spoken at several conferences on a range of early years subjects inspired by the creative approach to learning embedded at Atelier.


Marc Faulder

Early years teacher and Apple Distinguished Educator Marc Faulder will be presenting Saturday’s seminar ‘Technology and the Enabling Environment ’. Discover how voice and image recording technology, from photography and video, to apps and tablets, can empower children to extend, record and reflect on their learning across all areas of the curriculum. Marc has talked nationally and internationally about his work.

He leads computing across the Acorn Federation and works closely with the Rushcliffe Learning Alliance schools. As manager of the Apple Regional Training Centre Nottingham, he provides free CPD for teachers in Nottingham, Derby, Leicester and Loughborough. His practical workshops and presentations have featured at regional events in the East Midlands for Nottinghamshire County Council and he co-ordinates the iPad and Curriculum Networks. He works nationally, sharing his ideas at events such as the British Educational Training and Technology Show (BETT) and the Education Innovation Conference (EIC). As an Apple Distinguished Educator, he has travelled to Apple Distinguished Educator Institutes to collaborate on projects with other ADEs from around the globe.


Julie Fisher

Julie Fisher is a freelance Early Years Adviser and visiting Professor of Early Childhood Education at Oxford Brookes University. She held the post of Early Years Adviser in Oxfordshire for 11 years, before which she was lecturer in early childhood education at the University of Reading. She has taught children from three to 12 years of age and has been headteacher of two urban, multi-cultural schools. She has also been an Ofsted inspector for both the school and PVI sectors.

In her work, Julie draws on ongoing research projects with practitioners and children in both schools and early years settings. This has to led to numerous publications including her books ‘Starting from the Child’ (4th edition 2013); ‘The Foundations of Learning’ (2002); ‘Moving On to Key Stage One’ (2010) and ‘Interacting or Interfering?’ (2016).


Tamsin Grimmer

Tamsin Grimmer is an experienced consultant and trainer. Tamsin is passionate about young children’s learning and development and is fascinated by how very young children think. She believes that all children deserve practitioners who are inspiring, dynamic, reflective and passionate about teaching them and has a keen interest in the different ways that children learn. Tamsin is particularly interested in play, active learning, promoting positive behaviour and supporting early language development. She is currently studying for a Masters Degree in Early Childhood Education and has written two books for Jessica Kingsley Publishers, one on schemas and one on school readiness.


Rachel Hehir

Rachel began working at Brentry and Henbury Children’s Centre (BHCC) in 2010 as an Early Years Practitioner. Her current role is as an Assistant Manager across two of the BHCC sites. Rachel developed a passion for the work children’s centres do after being supported by her local children’s centre with her son in his early education. Having no formal experience working with young children Rachel graduated in 2009 after studying Education and Early Childhood Studies for four years.

More recently Rachel has developed a desire to understand the significance of the gender gap and how practitioners can support the narrowing of this gap. Rachel is co-leading an ongoing research project 'Anytime is Storytime Bristol', which was set up with the aim of raising boys' attainment in reading and is part of 'The Bristol Boys Achievement Project'.


Gill Jones

Gill Jones is one of Her Majesty’s Inspectors and joined Ofsted in 2007, leading inspections of schools and children’s centres. She is the Deputy Director for Early Education Policy, introducing the early years common inspection framework and is responsible for the Early Years Annual Reports. Before joining Ofsted, Gill was a Consultant Leader for the National College, training new and aspiring headteachers and school improvement partners. She was the headteacher of two primary schools, during which time she set up out of school provision and holiday clubs including daycare for under-fives. She subsequently became a senior inspector for Wirral LA, with responsibility for primary education. Gill has held a number of roles in Ofsted, including Senior HMI in the East of England and Principal Officer for the inspection policy of maintained primary schools.


Kay Mathieson

Kay, an early years consultant, trainer and author, is particularly interested in exploring what life is like in our early years settings for two-year-olds and the way in which children with additional needs and their families are included effectively.

Her books include ‘Inclusion in the EYFS’, ‘I am two! Working Effectively with two-year-olds and their families’, and ‘Understanding Young Children’s Behaviour’.

Her work in early years and primary settings since 1981 has included supporting children with additional needs, especially behaviour, and their families. She led the Early Years Inclusion Team in a London Borough for six years, which involved supporting PVI settings to develop more inclusive practice. She also worked part time for the National Strategies team.


Sue McGonigle

Sue McGonigle has over twenty years’ teaching experience in inner city schools and has been an English subject leader and Deputy Head. She worked at The Centre of Literacy in Primary Education for nine years where she led and researched national literacy projects working with teachers, schools and settings across England and internationally. She is now a Lecturer in Primary Education at UCL Institute of Education. Sue has a particular interest in children’s literature and its creative use in the Primary and Early Years classroom. She is co-creator of www.lovemybooks.org.uk a free website with resources for parents, schools and settings aimed at promoting reading for pleasure.


Professor Padraic Monaghan

Padraic Monaghan, professor of Cognition at Lancaster University and co-director of the ESRC International Centre for Language and Communicative Development (LuCiD), a five-year research project aimed at transforming our understanding of children's language communication. Professor Monaghan’s work investigates children’s very early experience and its influence on their language development, and effects on later literacy acquisition, in both monolingual and bilingual children.


Anne O’Connor

Anne is an independent early years consultant, trainer and writer contributing regularly to Nursery World on a range of topics. She is a longstanding Associate Trainer with Early Education and co-founder of Primed for Life Training Associates (www.primedforlife.co.uk) offering consultation and training on several aspects of early years pedagogy. These include attachment and wellbeing, transitions, equalities and diversity as well as physical development. As an experienced adoptive parent, Anne also provides support for schools and settings working with adoptive families and children in care. Her latest book, co-written with Anna Daly, is 'Understanding Physical Development in the Early Years: Linking bodies and minds' (Routledge).


June O’Sullivan MBE

June O'Sullivan MBE is Chief Executive of the London Early Years Foundation (LEYF), a social enterprise which currently runs 38 nurseries across eleven London boroughs.

An inspiring speaker, author and regular media commentator on Early Years, Social Business and Child Poverty, June has been instrumental in achieving a major strategic, pedagogical and cultural shift for the award winning London Early Years Foundation, resulting in increased profile, a new childcare model and stronger social impact over the past ten years.

As CEO and creator of the UK's leading childcare charity and social enterprise since 2006, June continues to break new ground in the development of LEYF's scalable social business model. She remains a tireless campaigner, looking for new ways to influence policy and make society a better place for all children and families.

June is a champion of community-based, multi-generational early years education as the basis for greater social and cultural capital to deliver long-term social impact. She continues to advise Governments as well as a range of organisations, academics and services at home and overseas about how best to implement a social enterprise vision for early years.

June is a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Trustee of London Hostels Association, Director of Social Enterprise UK, and Founding Member of International Early Years. June was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday honours in 2013, for her services to London’s children. She won the Social Enterprise UK Women’s Champion Award in November 2014 and in February 2015 she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Middlesex. In 2016 she was voted one of Debretts most influential 500 and in 2017 she won the NMT Most Influential In Early Years Award

June is a published author, with an MA in Primary & Early Childhood Studies and MBA from London South Bank University.


Hayley Peacock

Hayley Peacock is Owner and Director of Little Barn Owls Nursery & Farm School in Horsham, winner of Nursery World’s 'Nursery of the Year' and the 'Enabling Environments' Awards in 2015/16. Hayley has co-written three books documenting children’s Reggio Inspired project work that have sold all over the world, and she launched the LBO Training School in 2015 which hosts professional development days, consultancy and workshops to hundreds of early years professionals every year inspired by the Reggio Emilia Approach. Her latest venture is an additional full time Forest School Nursery opened in January 2017 also based in West Sussex.


Kate Read

Kate is Head of Early Years at Hill Mead Primary School in Brixton. She has ten years’ teaching experience in early years within inner city schools. She recently completed a post graduate diploma in Early Years at UCL Institute of Education and has been working as a lead EYFS moderator for Lambeth for three years. She has a keen interest in developing children's early speaking, listening and literacy skills and has led a number of 'Love My Books' cafes with the parents of Hill Mead Primary.


Alice Sharp

Alice Sharp is managing director of training centre, Experiential Play, and director of resource company, Wonderbox, specialising in interactive products for use with children under three. As a hugely popular and effective trainer, she has undertaken training projects across the UK and abroad, and has produced a variety of training resources, most recently the DVD ‘Learning nuggets with Alice Sharp’.

She trained as a primary teacher, was formerly a lecturer in early education and childcare at Glasgow College, and is an associate of the University of Glasgow and London Early Years Foundation, the UK's largest social enterprise for childcare and early education, working to support long-term social change and with 34 nurseries across London.


Penny Tassoni

Penny Tassoni is a leading author, trainer and consultant in the early years sector. Amongst her many publications is a wide variety of early education and childcare textbooks and a best-selling series of handbooks, including ‘Penny Tassoni’s Practical EYFS Handbook’ and ‘Getting It Right for Two-year-olds: A Penny Tassoni Handbook’. Her other titles include ‘Child Development: 6 to 16 years’, and ‘Planning Play and the Early Years’, co-written with Karen Hucker. She has undertaken extensive training and consultancy work across the UK and internationally.


Judith Twani

Judith qualified as a junior teacher in the days of discovery learning and topic webs. Following five years of teaching, she moved to South Africa to teach in a small rural school which was a pioneer of multi-racial education in the post-apartheid years. There she developed a pre-school curriculum and introduced a creative approach to teaching.

Getting married and starting a family resulted in Judith taking a career break and, during this time, she led creative arts at a small college in Cape Town. A return to teaching took Judith first to Year 2 and then to Reception where she discovered her passion for early years. She organised an early years cluster group comprising practitioners from across early years settings and this gave her the opening to become a local authority early years consultant and children’s centre teacher. During this time she also trained as an NVQ assessor and Ofsted inspector, and spent six months on a secondment to senior leadership in a large primary school.

For a couple of years, she developed her own independent training and consultancy work specialising in early years, alongside her work as a local authority consultant. She delivered training with BEAM on early years maths and has collaborated with Michael Jones, formerly an ECaT consultant, as co-author of ‘Let’s Talk About Maths’.

She now works for Early Excellence as a regional development manager and senior consultant. She brings to her training and consultancy a wealth of experience and knowledge. Judith is an inspiring and motivating trainer who combines theory and practical hands on experiences successfully to create an unforgettable day.


Charlotte Van Wely

Charlotte has been at Brentry & Henbury Children’s Centre (BHCC) since 2014 and has two roles in the setting: Early Education Support and Lead Practitioner in Pre-School. She is also responsible for leading the Bristol Standard, a quality improvement programme, across two sites. Charlotte has over 15 years’ experience of working in the early years, having previously worked in primary education before moving to BHCC.

Charlotte is passionate about research and developing practice. Charlotte is co-leading an on-going research project Anytime is Storytime Bristol, which was set up with the aim of raising boys’ attainment in reading and is part of 'The Bristol Boys Achievement Project'.


Dr Jo Warin

Dr Jo Warin is a senior lecturer in Educational Research at Lancaster University and Co- Director of the Centre for Social Justice and Wellbeing in Education. Jo’s research is currently focused on Men in Childcare, in the UK and overseas, with several relevant journal articles, a co-authored book ‘Men, masculinities and teaching in early childhood education’ and a forthcoming book (Jan 2018) 'Men in Early Childhood Education and Care: Gender Balance and Flexibility'. Her broader research interests are in gender, education and identity. She teaches on the online DP in Education and Social Justice and supervises many PhD students.


Gary Wilson

Gary Wilson is one of the country’s leading authorities on raising boys’ achievement and is the author of several books including ‘Raising Boys’ Achievement’. A teacher for 27 years, he began work on raising boys' achievement in his own cluster of schools in 1993. In 2001 he wrote ‘Using the National Healthy School Standard to Raise Boys' Achievement’ for the NHA and the DfES based on the success of his work in schools.

In 2003 he was made the country's first Local Authority school improvement officer with specific responsibility for raising boys' achievement. From 2005-2010 he was chair of the National Education Breakthrough Programme on Raising Boys' Achievement which worked across 300 schools nationwide.

He has advised and delivered training in over a thousand schools and over thirty LAs across the UK.

His first book ‘Breaking Through The Barriers to Boys’ Achievement and Developing a Caring Masculinity’ was described in The Guardian as ‘undoubtedly the seminal work on this subject’.

In 2016 he has produced two new books ‘Boys Will Be…Brilliant! Getting it Right for Boys in Early Years’ (with Linda Tallent) and 1100 Ideas for Primary Teachers: Raising Boys’ Achievement’.