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Trustee profiles

Verity Campbell-Barr

Chair of the Board of Trustees and South West England representative

Verity is a lecturer in Early Childhood Studies at Plymouth University where she is involved in teaching on both undergraduate and post-graduate courses.  She comes from a policy background having worked for a local authority and the Policy Studies Institute. In both of these roles she has been involved in researching issues relating to the supply and demand of early years and childcare services. More recently, in her role at Plymouth, she has focussed her research on the quality of early years and childcare services and writing about the position of the child in early childhood education and care policy developments. She has undertaken projects on exploring understandings of quality for working with two year olds and European comparisons on the skills needed to be a ‘good’ practitioner. She is currently writing about quality and the role of the workforce in the early years and has developed a particular interest in the position of emotional competences for early years practitioners.  (More details on Verity’s research and publications can be found here: ).

Verity took on the role of Chair of the Cornwall and Devon branch of Early Education (formerly the Central Devon branch) in 2013. She is keen to work with local members to develop events and engage in critical discussions.

Sandra Mathers

Vice-Chair and South East England representative

Sandra Mathers began her career as a primary school teacher and is now a senior researcher at the University of Oxford. Her main research interests relate to Early Years education and care, and the relationships between adult-child interactions and children’s development. Sandra’s research is strongly policy- and practice-focused and she has led a number of government evaluations of early childhood initiatives. Her research has had significant policy impact, and she is a regular adviser to local and national policy-makers. Sandra is currently leading a large-scale trial designed to develop and evaluate a preschool professional development intervention which aims to improve young children’s oral language skills; and a smaller-scale developmental pilot which aims to support parents in enhancing the home language environment using technology. She is well known within the Early Years sector and has close links with schools, settings and local authorities across England. In addition to her academic expertise, Sandra has many years of experience in supporting efforts to improve child outcomes in the early years, and in making research findings accessible to policy-makers, practitioners and parents.

Becky Cook

Vice Chair and North East England representative

Becky is the Headteacher of Harewood Nursery School in Pontefract, West Yorkshire one of 3 maintained nursery schools in the Wakefield LA. She is acting chair of directors of Waterton Academy Trust, the country’s only primary and early years Multi Academy Trust where she is director for Early Years and also for SEND. Previously she worked for the LA as an advisor for SEND in the early years, She has been teacher in charge of a resourced provision for children with autism and has taught in mainstream early years in both nursery and reception. She is vice chair of governors at an outstanding infant and nursery school that her youngest of 3 children attends. She is also a member of the LA’s school’s forum representing early years.

Noreen Dawes


Noreen Dawes retired from London Metropolitan University in 2014 after twenty one years service. She was Head of the Accounting Subject Area within the Business School for over fifteen years and her teaching areas were financial accounting and taxation.

She is a qualified accountant with ACCA (now registered as retired). She was a member of the ACCA Public Sector Panel for four years. She was also a member of the Executive of the Committee of Heads of Accounting, a networking group drawn from accounting departments of UK Universities.

She has previous experience of being a Treasurer and holds a long interest in charity accounting. Her Master's dissertation from the University of Essex in 1997 looked at the impact of SORP 2 (1995) on the charity sector. She has extensive management experience from her role at the University that she can contribute to the Board of Trustees.

Andrina Flinders

Midlands and East England representative

Andrina became a Headteacher of a maintained nursery school in Walsall three years ago.  She has been a member of the Walsall Adult and Children’s Safeguarding Board for the past two years and is currently working on behalf of the LA for 1 day per week and has enjoyed thinking of new and creative ways to get EY practitioners across Walsall actively involved in improving outcomes for their children. 

Clare Williams

Midlands and East England representative

Clare has worked in both mainstream and special schools and is passionate about the right of each child to a high-quality early years education.  She is inquisitive about how practitioners can work with children and families to achieve this, using research evidence alongside practical wisdom and knowledge of child development to inform prpactice.  As an independent Early Year Consultant, she is privileged to work with early year practitioners across all sectors and across the country to develop provision and practice through coaching and professional development programmes.

Sue Allingham

South East England representative

Sue has been a member of Early Education for at least 25 years. Her expertise and passion for teaching and learning in the Early Years started with classroom experience and Senior Leadership roles.  As she developed her career both in school and as a Lead Teacher and trainer for the local authority, she also undertook research to gain an MA in Early Years Education from Sheffield University.  This achievement consolidated Sue's thinking and practice and her work has a solid grounding in research as a result. 

Sue has continued to research and now has a Doctorate in Early Years Education – also from Sheffield.  She writes regularly for Early Years Educator magazine and sits on their Editorial Board, and has published Transitions in the Early Years with Practical Preschool Publications (now in its second edition). 

Sue likes to think ‘out of the box’ about pedagogy in the Early Years, and her consultancy work is always based on wider reading and the question ‘why?’.  Her philosophy is always that: Education must be based on research and reflection.  Pedagogy must be underpinned by understanding of children and developmentally appropriate practice.

Sally Jaeckle

South West England representative

Sally Jaeckle has recently retired as Head of Early Years Services, Bristol City Council.  She was previously Senior Early Years Adviser for the National Strategies in the South West.

Sian Hudson

North East England representative

Sian has worked in ‘Outstanding’ Early Years settings for 20 years, in Leeds, London and Bradford, as a Support Worker, Artist, Teacher and now Executive Head Teacher. She is committed to quality early years education for all and believes that it holds the key to future success for our children and their families. Her particular passion lies in the Maintained Nursery School sector and the quality and uniqueness that it brings, particularly when supporting children in areas of deprivation and those with Special Educational Needs. She believes in shared, thought provoking, experiential learning that inspires the awe and wonder in both children and ourselves! 

Jan Holmes

North West England representative

Jan has been a Nursery School headteacher since 1997, leading schools with children’s centres and private provision in Ormskirk, Lancaster and Nelson.  Her current provision operates across several sites including the Forest School that educates children across all phases of education and where they are able to train staff to level 3 practitioners.

She has always enjoyed taking research and using it within her provision and after many years of postgraduate study in all aspects of leadership undertook a Masters in Early Childhood Education at Sheffield University. Her Masters studies ignited her fascination with the rights of children, the ethics of education and individualising learning.

As a serving headteacher her interests lie in the pragmatic aspect of early years education as well as pedagogy, including assessment, improvement planning and ensuring a sustainable future for maintained nursery schools.

North West England representative


Junnine Thomas-Walters

Wales representative

Junnine is the Programme Director of  two Master of Arts Programmes at University of Wales Trinity Saint David. She is also the CPLD Leadership and Quality Assurance Manager overseeing all aspects of continuing professional learning and development and the UWTSD Coordinator for the Outstanding Teacher Programme (OTP) and the Improving Teacher Programme (ITP).

Her teaching career began in 1995 as a Reception class teacher where she predominantly taught Early Years within the Primary sector before moving into HE in 2006. Her particular interests are in Early Years, ALN, CPLD and Mentoring and these have become the focus of for her professional work within HE. She is currently Vice-Chair of Governors in a Primary School in Swansea.

Junnine is currently studying towards her PhD which is centered around creative and imaginative play in the Foundation Phase in Wales.

Ann-Marie Gealy

Wales representative

Following a career in banking Ann-Marie qualified as a primary school teacher. After teaching, she became a lecturer and trained primary school teachers.  She subsequently joined the School of Early Childhood, at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David as a senior lecturer and is currently the Head of School.

Ann-Marie is a Fellow of The Higher Education Academy and has been an accredited Estyn Inspector for the Primary and Foundation Phase age. She has published children’s books in relation to learning in the outdoors, with a focus on practical play activities and has also published support handbooks and DVDs for training early years practitioners.  

Kierna Corr

Northern Ireland representative

Kierna has built a reputation as a risk taking, pioneering early years teacher, and through her enormously popular blog, No Such Thing as Bad Weather, has reached thousands of schools and settings across the world.  Her approach to outdoor learning and play is focused firmly on the benefits to children and her planning always begins with 'how will this help this child develop and learn?'. 

Since 2006 Kierna has transformed her own class's outdoor play space into a haven of exploration, challenge and generosity - generosity of resources, of time and of attitude. It has been visited by teachers and pedagogues from the UK, Europe and beyond and Kierna's authoritative voice is regularly called upon to contribute to outdoor issues in the media.  Her unique insights and spirit of innovation are grounded in an abiding belief in the transformative qualities of the natural world, but also reflect the practicalities of delivering the curriculum on a daily basis. 

Strong and respectful relationships with parents are vital in order to ensure the outdoors is valued by all the adults in each child's life and study tours to settings in places as diverse as Iceland and Poland has enabled Kierna to enrich her own understanding of what outdoors can offer young children. 

Glenda Walsh

Northern Ireland representative

Dr Glenda Walsh is Head of Early Years Education at Stranmillis University College, a College of Queen’s University Belfast. Her areas of expertise focus on play and playful pedagogies in early childhood and primary education. She has been involved in many major research projects such as the longitudinal evaluation of the Early Years Enriched Curriculum Project in Northern Ireland that has guided the course of the Foundation Stage of the revised Northern Ireland Primary Curriculum and she also headed a major project on examining pedagogy in Early Childhood Education for the Department of Education in the Republic of Ireland. Her journal articles, books and book chapters reflect her interest in curriculum and pedagogy, focusing in particular on resolving the dilemmas associated with play as learning in practice.  

Aline-Wendy Dunlop

Scotland Representative 

Aline-Wendy Dunlop is Emeritus Professor in the School of Education, University of Strathclyde. In this role, she has chosen to focus her current research and writing interests on educational transitions, children’s learning journeys, family engagement in education and practitioner identities, beliefs and practices. She is the Project Coordinator for the Scottish Transitions as a Tool for Change Project and has recently completed the write up of ‘Narratives of Educational Transitions: A Longitudinal Study 3-
18’. Aline-Wendy is a Vice-President of Early Education and currently also one of the Scottish Trustees.

Shaddai Tembo

Scotland Representative

Shaddai is a postgraduate researcher at the University of the West of Scotland, exploring inequalities within the early years. His research interests include addressing gender inequality, race and racisms, heteronormative practices, and advocating for true diversity and inclusion. He writes independently on many of these issues from

In the past, Shaddai oversaw the Bristol Men in Early Years Network, working to address the gender imbalance within the profession, and held the title of Learning Ambassador for Bristol Learning Cities. He has also featured on the BME Power List 2018, showcasing Bristol’s 100 most influential black and minority ethnic people, and is part of the Steering Group for the ESRC funded study ‘Gender Diversification in Early Years Education’.

Shaddai's background is in the early years, starting off in a small nursery in Bristol studying his NVQ Level 2 apprenticeship and working in a variety of settings up until his move to Scotland. Most recently, he was employed within the Family Support team in a Children's Centre. Shaddai is passionate about addressing inequalities and believes it is essential to address these issues from birth.

John Tuck

Co-opted trustee

John Tuck is a Chartered Accountant whose career fell into two parts.  He spent 24 years in two major international accountacy and consultancy firms, 14 of those as a partner in Grant Thornton, where he acted for a number of not for profit organisations, including several in the educaiton sectoir.  In addition he held a number of senior management roles including head of the firm's London Management Consultancy pratice and Managing Partner of its London business Advisory practice.

He left Grant Thornton in 1998 and subsequently held a number of Finance Director appointments with not for profit organisations, including Oxfam GB, Universities UK, the Postgraduate Medical Education and Training Board the UK Council for International Student Affairs.

Ankur Gupta

Co-opted trustee

Ankur thrives on insightful campaigns and has a soft spot for brands which stand for a larger cause.  He has been curious and hands-on in creating advertising for 11 years with teams across South Asia and East Africa, in agencies including JWT, Ogilvy and Cheil.  As a Brand custodian (ATL and Client Side) he has managed complex projects, built strong relationships and lead teams to drive operational efficiency.  His core strength is project management and he enjoys this business of ideas.