Nursery World Awards 16: Judges - Decision time…

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It was a busy day for our expert panel of judges from across the early years sector as they discussed and debated who deserved to win in each award category. And with a huge number of high-quality entries once again, they had to work very hard. Big thanks to them all!

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anneAnne O’Connor taught in early years settings in London primary schools for more than 20 years before becoming an independent consultant, trainer and writer. She contributes regularly to Nursery World and is an associate of Early Education. She co-founded and is a principal consultant with Primed for Life Training Associates, providing innovative training for physical development and the prime areas of the EYFS.

ann-pProfessor Ann Phoenix is Professor of psychosocial studies at the Thomas Coram Research Unit, UCL Institute of Education, and a Fellow of the British Academy. She co-directed the Childhood Wellbeing Research Centre, funded by the Department for Education. Her research includes work on racialised and gendered identities and experiences; mixed parentage; masculinities; consumption; and the transition to motherhood.

beatriceBeatrice Merrick is chief executive of Early Education, a national charity promoting high-quality early childhood education and supporting early years practitioners through training, resources and professional networks. Early Education campaigns for every child’s right to the best start in life, in particular those from the most disadvantaged backgrounds.

catrionaCatriona Nason is director of consultancy Daycare Doctor. She holds an Early Years Teacher qualification and has more than 25 years’ experience working in the sector. Also chief executive of NEyTCO, a social enterprise for early years trainers and consultants, Catriona co-founded the Ofsted Big Conversation and is a member of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on a Fit and Healthy Childhood.

chandrikaDr Chandrika Devarakonda is a senior lecturer in the faculty of education and children’s services at the University of Chester. Her research interests include inclusion, diversity, children’s rights and international perspectives. She has authored a book on diversity and inclusion in early childhood in addition to contributing chapters in reputed books on a wide range of topics. She has extensive experience working with disabled children in India.

gailGail Ryder-Richardson holds a masters in Early Childhood Education and has worked in the early years sector for more than 30 years. She currently focuses on promoting the value and use of outdoor environments. Her understanding of the issues practitioners face in improving their outdoor practice is combined with a practical and creative approach toovercoming problems.

helenHelen Moylett is an independent early years trainer, consultant and writer. She has been head teacher of an early years centre and a primary and early years university lecturer. While working for the National Strategies she was centrally involved in developing the Early Years Foundation Stage and led the Every Child a Talker programme. She co-authoredDevelopment Matters with Nancy Stewart and has written and edited several early years books.

jacquiDr Jacqui Hardie is an independent consultant. She works with providers to improve outcomes for children and delivers EYFS training. Jacqui has worked in schools, managed local authority teams and was a National Strategies early years adviser. She was one of the authors of the National Strategies Mark Making Matters guidance and the 4Children/DfE What To Expect, When? parents’ guide.

jane-cJane Comeau is chair of PACEY. She volunteered for the organisation for many years and joined its board as a trustee in 2011. Jane has been a registered childminder since 1995 and was awarded Outstanding in all areas in her last three inspections. She graduated with a BA in early years in 2010 and gained Early Years Professional Status in 2011.

jane-hJane Harrison is director of Red Hen Day Nursery, which has gained national accolades for providing outstanding provision on a working farm. Jane has a first-class degree in early childhood and is an advocate for healthy lifestyles. Her nursery has won numerous awards includingNursery World’s Nursery of the Year, Enabling Environments and Food awards. Jane was also a finalist in the BBC’s Food and Farming Awards for Caterer of the Year.

joDr Jo Verrill is managing director of Ceeda, an independent agency specialising in early years education and childcare research. Jo has worked with the sector for 16 years, conducting research to inform grassroots practice and government policy. From continuous sector benchmark studies on parent satisfaction and employee engagement to influential studies on childcare delivery costs, Jo’s passion is carrying out research that makes a difference.

julieJulie Coackley is the childcare director for Millennium Minis. She has worked in the early years sector for 19 years and has experience of running private, voluntary and maintained settings – supporting children from birth to eight. Julie, who has written a number of articles forNursery World, has also run community projects to support families, along with opening a pre-school in an area of deprivation. She is a member of the Early Education London branch.

juliaJulia Manning-Morton is an independent consultant and group facilitator for Key Times Professional Development. Her career in the early childhood field spans 40 years and diverse roles as a practitioner, manager, adviser, inspector and lecturer. Julia’s latest publications are:Two-Year-Olds in Early Years Settings: Journeys of Discovery with Maggie Thorp; andChild Care and Education (sixth edition) with Carolyn Meggitt and Tina Bruce.

kateKate Tyler is a social media expert and director of Shake Social – an online marketing agency with expertise in the early years sector. Kate, who has written a monthly column forNursery World, works with nurseries across the UK to help them implement digital strategies that work, and raise their online presence.

kathyKathy Brodie has worked in the early years sector for more than 15 years in a variety of roles and settings. She is an author and training specialist, delivering online and face-to-face training for practitioners, and is an early years teacher. She has written or edited four books and writes regularly for early years magazines, including Practical Pre-School.

lauraLaura Henry is an expert international award-winning early childhood specialist. She is the founder of the community interest company for early childhood trainers and consultants, NEyTCO, vice-president of The British Association for Early Childhood Education, and national representative for the World Forum on Early Care and Education. Laura is organising the first Early Years Safeguarding & Child Protection conference.

nancyNancy Stewart is a trainer, consultant and writer with extensive experience in schools, children’s centres and private provision. She advised the Tickell Review, and co-produced the revised EYFS Development Matters. At National Strategies, Nancy led Every Child a Talker in central England. She serves as vice-chair of TACTYC, Association for Professional Development in Early Years.

neilNeil Leitch is chief executive of the Pre-school Learning Alliance. As the largest early years membership organisation in England, the Alliance represents 14,000 nurseries, pre-schools and childminders. Prior to the Alliance, Neil held several senior posts within the commercial environment and moved into the area of financial underwriting in 1985. Until 2006, he chaired the Finance Industry Standards Association. Neil was recently elected a Fellow of the RSA.

nicoleNicole Weinstein is a freelance journalist specialising in early education, resources for childcare settings and outdoor learning. She spent five years writing news and features in-house forNursery World and continues to be a regular freelance contributor. She has extensive links throughout the childcare sector. Since becoming a mum she is even more passionate about what’s on offer for children in the early years.

patriciaDr Patricia Mucavele is the head of nutrition at the Children’s Food Trust, leading on the national standards for school food in England. Patricia has also led on the development of the Voluntary Food and Drink Guidelines for early years settings and the Children’s Food Trust early years programme ‘Eat Better, Start Better’. She joined the Trust in 2006, having spent 17 years working for international development agencies. She received an OBE this year.

pennyPenny Tassoni is an educationconsultant, author and trainer. She previously worked as an early years and primary teacher before lecturing on childhood studies. Penny has also worked as the UK education and training manager of a large nursery chain. She has written more than 30 books including the best-sellingP ractical EYFS Handbook. Penny is also president of early years organisation PACEY.

philPhil Armstrong has recently joined Early Excellence as head of the new centre in London. During the past 16 years he has worked across the early years and primary sectors, including headship positions. His most recent role was as head of the Ambleside Centre, near Reading, an integrated early years facility including nurseries for children aged three months to five years and a children’s centre.

purnimaPurnima Tanuku is the chief executive of the National Day Nurseries Association, a charity and membership association for nurseries across the UK. Recognised as an authority on early years and childcare, Purnima works closely with ministers and senior civil servants and is a major contributor to the policy debate in all three nations. She was awarded an OBE in 2011.

simoneSimone Carter has experience in early years care and education which spans 25 years, including as a childcare practitioner and nursery manager. In her role as senior operations director of Bright Horizons, Simone oversees the delivery of all operational and regulatory aspects of nurseries in London and the South. She sees her purpose as creating a culture of continuous improvement and supporting her team to deliver exceptional care and education.

stellaStella Ram-Louis is a freelance early years trainer and consultant, who has worked as a nursery nurse, manager, NNEB course co-ordinator, training co-ordinator and consultant. Stella has developed a sustained interest in schemas. She wrote about schemas in her first book in 2008 and has had articles published inNursery World andEarly Education. Stella has an MA and is studying for a doctorate in education.

sue-rSue Robb joined the charity 4Children (now Action for Children) as head of early years in May 2011 with the specific brief to lead the development of the Department for Education’s new early years strategic programme, Foundations for the Future. She has worked as an Ofsted inspector and is recognised nationally for her work on early years quality improvement. She has also worked at schools and local authorities.

wendyWendy Scott received the Nursery World Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009. She is a Froebel-trained teacher and was head of a demonstration nursery school. Wendy is honorary president of TACTYC and served on the Nutbrown Review. She was chief executive of the British Association for Early Childhood Education Forum. She has also worked with the DfES, the British Council and UNICEF.

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