Best Practice Clinic

We are very excited to launch a special new visitor feature this year. Working with experienced industry Partners, the Early Years Alliance, the National Day Nurseries Association and PACEY, we have developed the Best Practice Clinic.
All of us need extra support in our roles at times. At these times, it can feel like we are stuck and uncertain of the next step. Often what we need is someone with just the right piece of experience or advice to get us moving again.
Which is why we have developed the Best Practice Clinic. It is for early years practitioners to drop by and ask the advice of our friendly team of experts. No question is too small, no problem is too big - so whatever your burning early years question is, come and ask our onsite team.
Michael Freeston (EYA)

Michael has worked for the Alliance for 19 years. He coordinates all aspects of the Alliance’s quality improvement support to the early years sector, including policy and procedures development, inclusion, workforce development and training. He also represents the Alliance on a range of policy forums with DfE, Ofsted and NCFE/Cache. He develops and delivers provision for international partners, most recently in China and Azerbaijan.
His background is in adult community education working as a further education lecturer and then working for The Workers’ Educational Association between 1995 and 2003
He holds a BA (Hons) in Law and Politics, a Post Graduate Certificate in Education (FE) and a Masters Degree in Education Policy.
He was a member of the Expert Panel advising the Nutbrown review of early years qualifications and workforce development in 2012 and member of the Advisory Group for the Children’s Workforce Development Council for England until its demise in April 2012 .He was a Trustee of CACHE (Council for Awards in Care, Health and Education) until July 2015.

Melanie Pilcher (EYA)

Melanie Pilcher is the Alliance’s Quality and Standards Manager and draws upon more than 30 years experience working in the sector. Melanie supports early years providers with information, resources and training to ensure that every child has the best possible care and learning opportunities in the early years foundation stage.

Richard Knight (EYA)

Almost 15 years experience in the early years sector as an educator working in early years settings, out of school clubs and creches. 
My role in the Alliance is dynamic and includes supporting colleagues across our services, managing early years projects, and developing training materials for providers which I enjoy designing and delivering. 
Being passionate about the early years is what keeps me motivated and I very enjoy how my role allows me to support early years provision and deliver high quality training, information, support, and advice

Alison Heseltine (EYA)

Alison has worked with children, families and educators in the early years sector for over 20 years. Her current role as an Early Years Development Officer with the Alliance has provided her with many new and exciting opportunities to develop her passion for giving children the best start in life.  Her role includes project management, delivering sessions to families, supporting colleagues across our services and the development of training materials for educators.

Mandy Franks (EYA)

As Information Adviser, Mandy has worked for the Early Years Alliance for over 30 years.  She has extensive experience of supporting members with information and guidance on various areas of the early years, particularly support for charitable groups in adhering to their constitution.

Fliss Hardie (NDNA)

Fliss is the SEND specialist Early Years Adviser for National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA). Fliss qualified as a teacher in 2005 with a Post Graduate Certificate in Education, specialising in the Early Years Foundation Stage. Fliss has taught in nursery and reception classes and has been EYFS lead, working closely with her team to ensure high quality provision to achieve the best outcomes for all children. Fliss has worked in a large primary school as SENCO and designated safeguarding lead, working as an integral part of the leadership team to shape its strategic direction and success. Fliss holds the National SENCO award.

Fiona bland (NDNA)

Fiona has over 20 years of experience (both nationally and internationally) in the early years sector, beginning her career as a key person progressing on to leadership and management roles. She has a BA (Hons) and EYP status, and has completed the Certificate to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector (CTLLS) to support her work with adult learners. Fiona has also worked as a freelance Ofsted inspector. Before joining National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA) in 2011, Fiona worked for the British Council in Hong Kong, developing English language programmes for Chinese children aged from 2 to 8 years and also developed teacher training programmes for early years teachers.

Pat Tomlinson (PACEY Advisor)

Pat Tomlinson has over 25 years' experience in the early years and childcare sector. Pat has been an Outstanding Ofsted registered childminder, trainer and assessor and is now PACEY Advisor providing information, advice and guidance to PACEY members.

Penny Tassoni (PACEY President)

Penny Tassoni is a well-known education consultant, author and trainer who specialises in the whole spectrum of learning and play within early years. Penny has written over 50 books, many of which are best sellers in the sector.

Lindsey Doe (PACEY Trustee)

Lindsey Doe has a wealth of experience working within the childcare sector, with an excellent insight and knowledge of childcare business operations ensuring that quality and a child centric environment remains at the heart of the business.

Chloe Webster (PACEY Trustee)

Chloe Webster has been a registered childminder since 2016 and works in partnership with a childminder colleague at Pebbles Childcare. She’s passionate about sharing good practice to improve outcomes for all providers, children and families.