Let's Talk Best Practice Forum

A resource for all visitors, providing an opportunity for you to ask questions, share ideas, reflect, consolidate and receive advice and guidance from sector leaders and policy advisors - 

Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years
Formed in 1977, we are a charity dedicated to supporting everyone involved in childcare and early education to provide high quality services, information and advice to children, their families and carers. 

Across England and Wales, we provide training, expert advice, help and peer support to practitioners and practical and impartial support and information for families and carers and those advising them. We represent the views and experiences of practitioners and champion their vital role in helping prepare children for a bright future.


Early Years Alliance
The Early Years Alliance is the largest and most representative early years membership organisation in England, providing high-quality affordable childcare and education to support children and families in areas of deprivation throughout the country.

A registered educational charity, it represents 14,000 members and supports them to deliver care and learning to more than 800,000 families every year. We deliver family learning projects, offer information and advice, produce specialist publications, run acclaimed training programmes and campaign to influence early years policy and practice.


Nursery World Jobs
Nursery World Jobs is the most established and trusted brand in the early years sector. Every month our jobs website has thousands of practitioners looking for their new dream role.

Advertisers benefit from accessing an audience of engaged jobseekers working in the early years sector, ensuring high quality applications from targeted recruitment campaigns. Our main focus is helping organisations fulfil all their recruitment needs. 

We offer bespoke solutions and are on hand to provide expert advice and recommendations whatever your recruitment needs.

For more information contact Nawal Bekkale, Recruitment Sales Manager, MA Education Ltd on 020 7501 6767
 or email nawal.bekkale@markallengroup.com   

Alison Heseltine, Early Years Development Manager, Early Years Alliance

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.

Available on the exhibition floor before 12.00 on Friday, February 3rd & Saturday, February 4th

Melanie Pilcher, Quality and Standards Manager, Early Years Alliance

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.

Available on the exhibition floor before 12.00 on Friday, February 3rd & Saturday, February 4th

Richard Knight, Early Years Development Manager, Early Years Alliance

With almost 16 years’ experience in the early years sector as an educator, Richard has experience of working in early years settings, out of school clubs and creches. He supports colleagues across the Alliance’s services managing early years projects, teams of educators and develops training materials for providers.

Available on the exhibition floor before 12.00 on Friday, February 3rd & Saturday, February 4th

Christine Davies, Early Years Senior Officer , Ofsted

Ofsted Briefing / Q&A Friday, February 3rd: 15.00

Alison Featherbe, Early years consultant and trainer, Alison Featherbe Learning and Development

Alison works in partnership with providers of the EYFS to empower, excite and enthuse owners, leaders and managers and ensures the professional growth of teams and individuals working with babies, young children and families in the EYFS.

Alison is a leading authority in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). With over 35 years of experience, she has had a range of roles and responsibilities within the early years sector. She has worked as an early years teacher and manager, area SENDCo and early years development officer for a local authority.

Tips and tricks on early years social media Friday, February 3rd: 12.00 PM

Katy Hampton, Director , Fair Pay Hub Limited

In recent years, the media attention surrounding NMW has spotlighted the legislation, the difficulties employers face and HMRC’s strict application of the complex rules. This has seen many employers, including well-known household brands, being publicly named and shamed for inadvertently falling foul of the rules and being hit with hefty penalties of 200% of any underpayment found by HMRC.

As HMRC actively targets the sector, this session is perfectly timed to explore the complexities of NMW and the steps employers can take to future-proof their nursery and protect its workforce.

Avoiding the Pitfalls: Navigating National Minimum Wage Compliance and HMRC Enforcement Saturday, February 4th: 13:00

Stephanie Douglas MBE, Trustee, PACEY

PACEY Trustee Stephanie Douglas MBE has over 25 years' experience working in the education and skills sector. She is dedicated to improving outcomes for children and families by the leadership and implementation of excellence in policy and practice.

Available on the exhibition floor before 12.00 on Friday, February 3rd

Phil Minns, Senior His Majesty’s Inspector for Early Curriculum, Ofsted

Phil has been working in the early years for over thirty years. Starting as a teacher, he has been a headteacher, a local authority deputy director and the CEO of a multi-academy trust. Phil is a Senior His Majesty’s Inspector for early education. He is Ofsted’s specialist in Early Years and Primary education and is part of the team who develop and monitor the inspection framework for both schools and early years.

Ofsted Briefing / Q&A Friday, February 3rd: 15.00

Janet Packer, Co-founder/manager, Growing Wild Outdoor Nursery/Outdoors Thinking

I have worked with children since 1999, starting out as Primary Teacher, then Lecturer in Early Childhood Studies and Forest Schools practitioner, Early Years Trainer / Consultant and Nursery Manager. I am Co-Founder/Manager of Growing Wild Outdoor Nursery and Co-Founder/National Trainer of Outdoors Thinking. My passion throughout has been in nature and the outdoors, sparked initially by a visit to British Columbia, Canada as a student, where I studied outdoor education for my dissertation.

Developing your outdoor space Saturday, February 4th: 12.00

Gabrielle Smith, Inclusion specialist , Gabrielle Smith Consultancy

Gabrielle is an experienced inclusion specialist who has worked in the education sector for the last 15 years, both UK wide and internationally. She works with educators, parents, education providers, charities and healthcare specialists to ensure they understand and can support the needs of each unique learner in the best way possible.

Including all learners Friday, February 3rd: 14:00

Pat Tomlinson, Trustee, PACEY

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.

Available on the exhibition floor before 12.00 on Saturday, February 4th

Shardi Vaziri, Early years consultant and assistant headteacher, Early Years on a Shoestring

Shardi is an early years specialist, writer and consultant with a particular passion for loose parts and sustainable provision. She writes blogs about all things early years, teaching, and classroom provision and practice. She is currently an Assistant Headteacher and Early Years lead at a North London school, and alongside this delivers training and support for settings as well as Local Authorities.

Early years on a shoestring, making the most of reusing materials Friday, February 3rd: 13.00 PM