Nursery World Awards 2020: 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 former 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 many articles 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.

David Wright

David is an early years teacher and co-owner of the Paint Pots Nurseries group in Southampton. He is an advocate for male inclusion in early years settings, and is co-author of the book Men in Early Years Settings: Building a Mixed Gender Workforce.

Penny Tassoni

Penny is an education consultant, trainer and author. She has written more than 30 books and is the author of the best-selling Practical EYFS Handbook. Penny is also president of early years organisation PACEY.

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. Sarah is chief academic officer of N Family Club, a new and growing nursery group rethinking early education.

Phil Armstrong

Phil is head of regional development for the South of England and leads on international work for Early Excellence. He has worked for more than 20 years across the early years and primary sectors, including teacher, leader and headship positions.

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 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 17 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 World award 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 is currently project lead for the Early Years Coalition development of Birth to Five Matters - guidance by the sector, for the sector.

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. He won Nursery World's 2020 Lifetime Achievement Award.

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 was the recipient of Nursery World's Lifetime Achievement Award in 2019.

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

Dr 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.

Kate Tyler

Kate is a social media expert and director of Shake Social - an online marketing agency with early years expertise. She works with nurseries across the UK to help them implement effective digital strategies.

Laura Henry-Allain

Laura is an early education specialist who has just received an MBE. She is the creator of JoJo and Gran Gran, currently on CBeebies. Laura is also vice-president of Early Education.

Sally Cave

Sally is headteacher of Guildford Nursery School and Family Centre. She previously worked as a consultant and as early years regional advisor for National Strategies. Froebelian principles guide Sally's work with children, parents and staff.

Liz Pemberton MA QTS

Liz is a former nursery manager who is now director of The Black Nursery Manager, which specialises in anti-racist training and consultancy for the early years sector, promoting inclusive practice.

Linda Keats

Linda is an EYFS adviser who has worked in the sector for more than 25 years. Working with children from birth to three in nurseries, she is passionate about promoting early intervention and rich, enabling environments.


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.

Michelle Cusack

Michelle was awarded NW's Professional Nanny of the Year in 2019. She holds a BA (Hons) in Childhood in the Early Years.

Dr Janet Rose

Janet is principal of Norland College and has had a long career in early years training and provision.

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