Nursery World Awards 2019: Judges

Anne O’Connor

Anne 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.

Dr Sue Allingham

Dr Sue Allingham is an independent consultant, author and trainer. Her expertise and passion for teaching and learning in the early years started with her classroom experience and senior lead role as early years co-ordinator in the late 1980s. Sue gained an MA followed by a doctorate, both in early years education from Sheffield University. Her solid grounding in research informs her training and consultancy as well as the articles she writes for Early Years Educator magazine.

Di Chilvers

Di Chilvers is an advisory consultant in early childhood education, having worked in the early years sector for more than 39 years as a nursery nurse, teacher, senior lecturer, adviser and National Strategies regional adviser. Her work includes children’s creative and critical thinking, listening to their conversational talk and trying to understand their thinking. She has written several books, many articles and has created an assessment tool called the Development Map.

Jane Comeau

Jane Comeaus 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.

Julie Mountain

Julie Mountain is a specialist early years landscape designer and educator. She is former operations director at Learning through Landscapes, while her community interest company, Play Learning Life, currently works alongside schools, settings and families to make the most of outdoor learning and play. Julie has written three books and has this year written about practice in Japan for Nursery World.

Jane Harrison

Jane 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 children’s healthy lifestyles. Her nursery has won numerous awards including Nursery World’s Nursery of the Year, Enabling Environment and Food awards.

Edwina Revel

Edwina Revel is the programme director for nutrition at Early Start Group. Edwina supports nursery settings to achieve standards of nutrition excellence to improve the health outcomes of children and families. She has developed Association for Nutrition certified training covering topics such as menu planning, managing fussy eating and nutrition for young children.

Laura Hoyland

Laura Hoyland founded Hopscotch Early Years Consultancy in 2011 after a decade in the industry, with the desire to promote exceptional quality in early years. During the past eight years Hopscotch has grown to become the largest early years consultancy in the UK, helping to achieve more than 200 Outstanding judgements at inspection and with 14 best-of-breed consultants helping its clients to achieve their goals.

Gina Houston

Gina Houston has worked in the early years sector for 50 years, initially as a teacher in inner-city nursery classes, as a head teacher in a nursery school and leading a Sure Start Centre, as well as teaching in both Further and Higher Education and as local authority early years advisor. She has recently published a book on the experiences of black children as they start school, based on her Phd. research.

Sarah Mackenzie

Sarah Mackenzie is an experienced early years trainer, EYP and operator specialising in group provision. She has a passion for combining high-quality pedagogy and curriculum strategies with practical and operationally effective methodologies. As education director of N Family Club, a start-up created to rethink early education, Sarah is currently opening new nurseries and family clubs across London.

James Crosswell

James Crosswell is managing director of childcare at Kids Allowed. He gained his BEd (Hons) in primary education in 2004 and took the role of nursery nurse at Kids Allowed in 2007. He subsequently worked in many roles within the group, including as manager of its Stockport nursery in 2013. James was the recipient of Nursery World’s Nursery Manager of the Year award in 2015.

Judith Twani

Judith Twani is a passionate trainer with a background in teaching in the UK and in South Africa. She has held a range of roles within her local authority as a children’s centre teacher and consultant, a trainer and NVQ assessor. She also trained as an Ofsted inspector. She is co-author of Let’s Talk about Maths and currently works as an assistant headteacher and early years consultant.

Dr Jo Verrill

Dr 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, local and national government policy. Jo’s passion is carrying out research which makes a difference, and continues to carry out influential studies for the sector.

Rebecca Martland

Rebecca Martland is an independent early years trainer, EYP and a three-times Outstanding registered childminder, with more than 18 years’ experience in the early years sector. Rebecca is co-founder of a thriving local childminding association, Magic Minders, and is one half of the Minding the Gap CPD team, who have been the recipient of a Nursery Worldaward for their Childminder & Early Years conference.

Nancy Stewart

Nancy 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 Development Matters. At National Strategies, Nancy led Every Child a Talker in central England. She serves as vice-chair of TACTYC, the association for professional development in early years.

Neil Leitch

Neil Leitch is chief executive of the Early Years Alliance. As the largest early years membership organisation in England, it represents 14,000 nurseries, pre-schools and childminders. Neil has 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 is a Fellow of the RSA.

Helen Moylett

Helen Moylett is an independent early years trainer, consultant and writer. While working for National Strategies she was centrally involved in developing the Early Years Foundation Stage and led the Every Child a Talker programme. She co-authored Development Matters with Nancy Stewart and has written and edited several early years books.

Kate Tyler

Kate 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 for Nursery World, works with nurseries across the UK to help them implement digital strategies that work, and raise their online presence.

Purnima Tanuku

Purnima Tanuku is chief executive of 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 across the UK. She was awarded an OBE in 2011.

Stella Ram-Louis

Stella Ram-Louis is a freelance early years trainer and consultant who has also worked as a nursery nurse, nursery manager and NNEB course co-ordinator. Stella has developed a sustained interest in schemas. She wrote about schemas in her first book, published in 2008, and has had articles published in Nursery World and Early Education. Stella has an MA, a doctorate in education and is a Froebelian-trained travelling tutor.

Wendy Scott

Wendy Scott received the Nursery World Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009. She is a Froebelian-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, and has worked with the DfES, the British Council and UNICEF.


Chris Lawrence

Chris Lawrence is head at The Chiltern Nursery & Training College. Chris has worked at Chiltern for more than 20 years and has been head for the past 12 years, having managed both the nursery and the training college during her time there. She has also worked as an early years trainer, under-8s advisor and Ofsted nursery education inspector.

Beverly Munden

Beverley Munden is franchise manager at Tinies. She is currently responsible for overseeing UK operations for the largest network of childcare recruitment agencies in the UK with more than 30 franchise locations. This involves recruiting nursery practitioners, nannies and babysitters and supporting event childcare needs for conferences, weddings, christenings and celebrity parties.

Laura La Turner

Laura La Turner is director and trainer at Wise Nanny. Laura is committed to helping parents and nannies feel knowledgeable and confident in their role. She is a highly experienced and qualified childcare professional, who has worked in the field for more than 20 years. After qualifying and working as a nanny she moved into the commercial sector and has managed childcare settings in the UK, US and Hong Kong.

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