Who we are

We are a charity with a small core administrative staff supported by a huge volunteer effort from our membership.

Please use the contact details in the footer to get in touch with us.

Find out more about how we are governed.

Our vision

Empowering children to achieve their potential by enhancing educators’ expertise and advocating quality early education

Our mission

  • providing high quality professional learning
  • developing future pedagogical leaders
  • advocating for transformative, inclusive early learning through play
  • extending our reach, influence and impact nationally and locally
  • increasing and diversifying our membership


So that we raise the status and quality of all early education

Our trustees

Our trustees are responsible for strategy and governance for the organisation. Most are drawn from our membership, while a few bring expertise from outside the sector.

Nicola works in Bristol as a LA Early Years Lead, leading on strategy and Early Years quality improvement through a model of system leadership.  Nicola works as part of a cross-phase leadership team within the Directorate to secure rich, high quality experiences, continuity and progression for all learners, and seamless transitions for children and families.

Nicola has experience of primary headship and senior educational consultancy at local, regional, national and international levels. She is passionate about research and the innovation of educational programmes through peer collaboration and practitioner-led research. Nicola works closely with National Teaching Schools to support the leadership of research and to capture the creativity, richness and impact of teacher and practitioner-led enquiry.

Nicola has extensive experience of leading programmes to support children’s communication, language and literacy. This includes regional consultancy and the design and delivery of training the trainer modules to embed core methodologies to improve oracy and writing across the EYFS and primary curriculum.  Further work relating to speech, language and communication in Bristol has included partnership working with health to review Early Years’ provision for of speech, language and communication to establish an integrated approach. 

Nicola has experience of organisational development and is currently co-leading a transformation programme to remodel Bristol’s maintained Nursery Schools to secure future sustainability. This work recognises the strengths of current provision and is progressing through a model of co-construction with headteachers and cross-service partners. The redefinition of roles and leadership responsibilities across Bristol’s Early Years landscape is a key aspect of this work.

Heather holds a master’s degree in law, with her dissertation focusing on the legal responsibilities of volunteers.  In 2015 she decided on a new challenge and change in career, so went to university to retrain as an Early Years Teacher.  She is a company director for her setting. and a trustee of the charity responsible for the local village hall and playpark, having finished her term as chair in July 2020.   She is also a member of a school governing board with specific responsibility for training and development. 

She is passionate about raising standards in early years, specifically staff training, knowledge of early childhood development and having impact on an individual and setting pedagogy. Her own educational background in law, along with skills gained as a business owner, and her voluntary work, have provided her with sound judgement, a deep understanding of the legal responsibilities of trusteeship and the ability to develop and share a strategic vision and deliver against it.  

John Tuck is a Chartered Accountant whose career fell into two parts.  He spent 24 years in two major international accountancy 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 education sector.  In addition he held a number of senior management roles including head of the firm’s London Management Consultancy practice 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.

Becky is Pre-School Executive Headteacher at Waterton Academy Trust, the country’s only primary and early years Multi Academy Trust.  She was previously the Headteacher of Harewood Nursery School in Pontefract, West Yorkshire and before that worked for the local authority as an advisor for special educational needs and disabilities in the early years. She has also been teacher in charge of a resourced provision for children with autism and has taught in mainstream schools in key stage one and early years in both the nursery and reception classes. She has 20 years’ experience in governance, including 5 years as the Chair of Governors of an outstanding infant and nursery school that her 3 children attended. She is also a member of her local authority’s school’s forum representing early years. Becky is a Guide Leader and enjoys camping and outdoor activities. She is a busy Mum who enjoys swimming, walking and reading in her spare time.

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. 

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! 

Glenda is an Early Years Senior Lecturer at University of Wales Trinity St David (UWTSD). She has been involved in designing and implementing new early years training programmes including leading the development of an innovative two-year BA (Hons) degree for early years practitioners. This programme responds to the broader Welsh Government strategic priorities in terms of widening participation to higher education and developing a graduate early years’ workforce. She leads on key areas including marketing and admissions. Glenda has in recent years been volunteering in a Forest School nursery in order to share her experiences with students and also to develop her theory/practice links. 

Julia has worked in early years education for nearly twenty-five years.  Now a nursery school principal, she has also worked in a range of educational settings.  She began her career in a very large primary school in Leicester as a nursery & foundation stage teacher, where the majority of families and children had English as an additional language.  Following this working as foundation stage coordinator and SENCO in Nottingham in an area of huge social deprivation.  In both schools she developed an interest and aptitude in the early identification and support for children with special educational needs and additional learning needs.  These are areas in which she continues to be interested and sees as a priority in hercurrent teaching principal role.

After relocating to Northern Ireland in 2007, she began the journey as an early years advisor with the Curriculum Advisory Service (CASS) and actively supported schools in training and development for all areas of the curriculum, early years practice, play based learning and also assisted schools in evaluating and planning for whole school development.

She took up a post as a nursery principal in 2010 and during her time in post has actively forged professional networks amongst educational professionals and fostered a climate of mutual support for all.  She has been dedicated to professional development, visiting other settings, leading professional development clusters, mentoring colleagues and learning from colleagues in all sectors.

Maureen started out as an NNEB and has worked in a variety of early learning and childcare settings during her professional life.  As her career, qualifications and experience developed she moved into quality assurance and was an inspector with the local authority and care inspectorate for 20 years until her recent retirement.  Maureen has contributed to local authority and Care inspectorate good practice publications.  Maureen holds an MA in Early childhood education from the University of Sheffield and is passionate about furthering the knowledge and understanding of staff working in early childhood settings as this has been shown to have the biggest impact on children’s experiences and outcomes.  In order to do this she will support Early Education as a trustee in their aims, values and activities.

Tim began his working life as a qualified teacher working in the EY’s through KS3 in both the maintained and private sector. He began working in the childcare and early education PVI sector over ten years ago and has led a variety of settings across the country striving to offer the best experience and outcomes for children and their families. Tim contributes to many local Early Years reference groups, and he sits on Schools Forum for a local authority. He was part of the Birth to 5 Matters project and its post publication activities. He looks forward to supporting Early Education as a trustee.  

Nicola has worked in early years for over 30 years, starting her academic career with my NNEB, working in both the maintained sector and volunteering with a range of early childhood focused charities. She then went on to become a workplace Assessor.  Taking advantage of the opportunity to undertake a degree, she completed a BA (hons) in Early Childhood and gained EYTS in her 40s, and then an MA in Education when she was 50. She has now enrolled to do a PhD in Social Policy, looking at how government rhetoric and policy impacts on how the early years profession views their role.  Nearly 10 years ago she started lecturing on the Early Childhood courses, and continues to support students in a mentoring role, once they have graduated.   Her focus is on ensuring the qualifications and standard of care and education offered, to implement a play-based curriculum that benefits all children in their formative years.  With this in mind she has started freelance writing, to advocate for children and early years staff. 

Elaina has been Childminding for nine years. She believes that every child should have a great start to their early years because this underpins children’s entire future life chances.

Hers is a family run business and her husband and daughter work full-time, alongside her. She believes that men are under-represented in Early Years and this should be addressed, she is constantly promoting the fabulous benefits that men can bring to early years. She has high aspirations for local children in her area and has been twice awarded outstanding (in 2016 and 2020) by Ofsted. 

She is passionate about early years and her own pedagogy is the Curiosity Approach.  She has been the Chairperson of Upton St Leonard’s Preschool as a voluntary position for two years.

In Gloucestershire, she is the local spokesperson and advocate between childminders and the Council.

She has completed a degree in Early Years at the Gloucestershire University.  

For the past twenty years, Lisa has worked within the education sector, serving as a teacher, Deputy Headteacher, Governor, and a Local Authority Head of Service. Through these roles, Lisa has gained vast experience in school improvement, change management, and ensuring children receive an excellent education—something she believes all children are entitled to.

Lisa has a proven ability to build strong relationships, communicate effectively with stakeholders, identify strategic routes to achievement, and lead a motivated staff to deliver measurable school improvement. Her role has also involved developing LA-wide systems to ensure children with SEND are receiving an appropriate graduated approach of support within schools.

Lisa’s passion lies in Early Years, and she strongly believes that excellent early experiences will lay the foundations for future success. She is incredibly motivated to see a fair and brilliant start to life for all. Lisa is a mother to three young boys, which drives her to work towards closing the gender gap in outcomes for boys, something she feels very strongly about.

Chris is an experienced Chartered Accountant with 15 years’ experience working within audit and risk management across a variety of large financial services institutions.  He is currently responsible for the design and imlementation of the Enterprise Risk Management Franework across a FTSE 100 group.

He is also father to two young girls and this has reinforced to him the importance of early years education.

Our honorary patrons

We are fortunate to have the support of senior figures in the sector who act as honorary patrons and support us with their wisdom and expertise.


Professor Cathy Nutbrown

Vice Presidents:

Professor Tony Bertram
Professor Tina Bruce CBE
Professor Aline Wendy Dunlop MBE
Naomi Eisenstadt CB
Dr Peter Elfer
Laura Henry-Allain MBE
Helen Moylett
Professor Christine Pascal OBE
Nancy Stewart
Professor Kathy Sylva OBE
Professor Colwyn Trevarthen
Dr Glenda Walsh
Professor Elizabeth Wood

Our staff

Chief Executive – Beatrice Merrick

Training and Communications Manager – Chris Hussey

Administrator – Membership & Events – Clive Copeman

Our Associates

The training and consultancy we offer is delivered by our Associates. To book a trainer or to commission quality improvement support work, visit our Bespoke training and consultancy page for further details.

Our branch officers

Our programme of local branch activity is run by volunteer branch officers and committee members, with a small amount of administrative support from head office.  See our branch pages for details of those involved.