Please note that this page is currently under construction and is subject to amendments and additions. The speakers are shown in alphabetical order.
Co-ordinating Group, IASWECE - www.iaswece.org
Clara Aerts is a trained Steiner/Waldorf Early Childhood Educator and has worked for more than 20 years with various groups of children aged between 3-7 years. The IASWECE philosophy is that the future development of each individual child and of humanity as a whole depends on health-giving experiences in the first seven years of life.
For the past 10 years, Clara has been giving pedagogical advice to Steiner kindergartens and doing curriculum work. She is currently active as a teacher trainer and gives lectures in the field of Steiner/Waldorf Early Childhood Education, both in Flanders and internationally. In her capacity as coordinator for IASWECE, she's actively involved in advocacy work in Brussels working together within the Alliance for Childhood network.
Professor David Almond
Author, Professor of Creative Writing - www.davidalmond.com
David Almond is a British author who has written several novels for children and young adults since 1998, each one receiving critical acclaim. He is one of 30 children's writers - one of 3 from the UK - to win the biennial international Hans Christian Andersen Award, "the world's most prestigious prize in children's literature". In 2007, to mark the 70th anniversary of the British Carnegie Medal, his debut novel, Skellig (1998), was selected by a panel as one of the top 10 Medal-winning works from which an all-time favourite would be chosen by public ballot. It came third in the public vote from that shortlist.
David's works are highly philosophical and appeal to children and adults alike. Recurring themes throughout include the complex relationships between apparent opposites (such as life and death, reality and fiction, past and future); forms of education; growing up and adapting to change; the nature of the "self".
David's major awards include the Carnegie Medal (Skellig); two Whitbread Awards; the U.S. Michael L. Printz Award for young-adult books (Kit's Wilderness); the Smarties Prize, ages 9–11 years (The Fire-Eaters); the U.S. Boston Globe–Horn Book Award, Children's Fiction (The Fire-Eaters); the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize (A Song for Ella Grey); and Le Prix Sorceress (France); the Katholischer Kinder-und Jugendbuchpreis (Germany)
Founder, Occupy Play - www.occupyplay.org
Inez Aponte is an educator, facilitator and community organiser, working with individuals and groups seeking to improve their quality of life in ways that are socially and ecologically just.
As founder of Growing Good Lives, Inez has spent the last 8 years using the Human Scale Development Approach to help communities assess their true wealth – including their social capital – and address any deficiencies as much as possible on a local level. Through this process, and as the mother of a young son, she has become aware of a certain 'poverty' in most communities in the industrialized West: our children are spending fewer hours playing outdoors, with detrimental consequences for their physical and emotional health. Adults too lack opportunities to experience the freedom, creativity and challenge that good play provides.
Inez now runs Occupy Play, a collaborative project which promotes the re-introduction of play into all aspects of life, from the domestic to the public sphere. She will be sharing her insights into changing patterns of play in our lives and her experience of organising the first Totnes Street Games festival - an intercultural and inter-generational celebration of old and new street games from around the world.
Sir Al Aynsley-Green
England’s first Children’s Commissioner, ex President BMA, Patron Save Childhood Movement - www.aynsley-green.com
Sir Al Aynsley-Green served as first children's commissioner for England from 2005 to 2010. He is founder and director of Aynsley-Green consulting, professor emeritus of child health at University College London and honorary fellow of Oriel College, Oxford. He is an internationally recognised authority on children's services, child health and childhood.
Sir Al expresses despair about the UK having some of the worst outcomes for children in the developed world. One of the things he cares about is making sure that reports that are produced on the subject have maximum impact. He particularly wanted to raise the profile of the BMA Growing Up in the UK report, which was published in an updated version in 2013.
Caring passionately about improving the lives of young people, Sir Al is motivated by ‘personal background, social justice and anger about the social inequalities in our society, and what we in privileged bubbles should be doing for those who can't speak for themselves'.
Clinical Director, PIPUK - www.pipuk.org.uk
PIP UK is a charity dedicated to helping establish parent-infant projects across the country. Before joining PIP, Robin Balbernie was Professional Lead for child psychotherapy and a Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist in Gloucestershire CAMHS. For over a decade he worked with Children’s Centres in the county as clinical lead of the team providing an infant mental health service. He was also involved with the Intensive Baby Care Unit at Gloucester Royal Hospital.
Robin's interest in working with adopted children led him to the field of Infant Mental Health and early preventative intervention; and this became his speciality following a Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Travelling Fellowship to look at related projects in America. He is an advisor to the Association of Infant Mental Health and was a member of the Young Minds’ Policy and Strategy Advisory Group.
Robin has published papers in many journals, including the Infant Mental Health Journal, the British Journal of Psychotherapy, Family Law, Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry, Attachment & Human Development, Young Minds, Nursery World, The International Journal of Birth & Parenting Education and the Journal of Child Psychotherapy.
Founder & CEO, Little Forest Folk - www.littleforestfolk.com
Leanna Barrett created Little Forest Folk with her husband in January 2015 to provide her own and other children with the childhood they deserve. Little Forest Folk are fully outdoor urban nurseries that immerse 2 to 5 year-olds in nature, helping them become creative, resilient little learners. The founders believe in child-led, play-based learning opportunities where fresh air, exposure to the natural world and physical activity are an integral part of learning. Wisdom begins in wonder.
Leanne met husband James in the Kalahari desert in Botswana, where they were living under canvas and managing a safari lodge. Upon moving back to London, and as parents themselves, they were saddened by the lack of opportunities for young kids to be outdoors playing freely and exploring in the fresh air. So they decided to do something about it and in 2015 launched their first forest nursery in Wimbledon. They have since opened 2 more - in Chiswick and Fulham.
Founder, Best Beginnings - www.bestbeginnings.org.uk
The CEO and Founder of Best Beginnings, Alison Baum is passionate about reducing inequalities in child health by supporting parents to maximise their children's development. She has used her leadership and executive production experience to pioneer the development of innovative resources, including DVDs, art and mobile apps, to support the emotional and physical transition to parenthood. In 2007, Alison received the prestigious Sheila McKechnie "Campaigner of the Year" award for her work in creating the Breastfeeding Manifesto Coalition, uniting 40 organisations, including 5 Royal Colleges and UNICEF, to lobby Government to deliver on 7 objectives designed to allow women to make fully informed choices about how to feed their babies. In March 2014 Alison was thrilled to be awarded CPHVA Campaigner of the Year and Woman of Democracy.
Before launching Best Beginnings, Alison set up an internet-based social enterprise called Express Yourself Mums, providing information and products for new mothers. Prior to that, she worked in the BBC Science department for almost 10 years, producing and directing science and health documentaries including Horizon, and played a key role in a BBC internal change programme.
Alison has an MA from Oxford University in Pure and Applied Biology and an MSc from UCL in Neuroscience.
Alison's uncle, Prof David Baum, was the first President of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, who fought for the rights of the child in the UK and internationally. Best Beginnings was set up in his memory.
Chief Executive, PACEY - www.pacey.org.uk
PACEY works to ensure better training and CPD support for childcare professionals; funding equity across all types of setting and a play-based approach to early learning are top of the childcare agenda.
Liz Bayram joined PACEY as Director of Policy and Public Affairs in 2004, taking the role of Chief Executive in December 2005. Having spent most of her working life campaigning for policy change and awareness-raising in the voluntary sector, Liz now works with staff and volunteers to support PACEY members to give children the best start in life and to ensure childcare professionals are recognised for their vital work.
A policy and communications professional, Liz started her career as a journalist before moving in to senior roles at both The Royal Society and Asthma UK.
CEO, Explorium - www.explorium.co.uk
Julia Black is a changemaker through to her core. She is a BAFTA nominated Filmmaker, Social Entrepreneur, Writer and CEO of Explorium. In 2010 Julia won the NCPTA Gold Star Reward for 'changing the life of the school' which spurred her on to push for innovation.
Seven years later, Julia's supplementary Creative Learning Agency is bringing real-world learning into the heart of our education system. Working with local schools in Somerset, Explorium is now based on site at Ansford Academy. Being ‘within the system but not of the system’ is enabling Black to continually iterate her 'Lights On' framework. To extend the reach of Explorium’s work, Julia is launching her first online course to share her simple step-by-step transformational system to parents, educators and mental health practitioners around the world.
Head of Sport & Health, EFL Trust - www.efltrust.com
The English Football League Trust is a charity that supports, advises and leads the work of 72 charities linked to professional football clubs across England and Wales. The network harnesses the unique assets of professional football and the affinity and loyalty many people feel towards their football club to achieve community goals and personal outcomes for hundreds of thousands of people each year. However, its work is far broader than football and recognises that children need a varied diet of play and sport with fun and enjoyment at the heart if they are to adopt healthy active lifestyles.
Adrian Bradley has returned to the sector after a number of years working as Regional Lead of National Citizen Service, as Strategic Director for the Child Migrants Trust and at Alzheimer’s Society, where he was National Lead for Young Onset Dementia. During a nearly 20 year career in sport, Adrian began as a Lecturer, became a Sports Development Officer at a local authority in Worcestershire, where he became Head of Arts, Sport and Play, and from 2001 to 2010 was Head of Sport at Nottinghamshire County Council – the award winning service that was used as the model for County Sport Partnerships in England. Since that time he has worked as a consultant for Sport England, English Federation of Disability Sport, and a number of National Governing Bodies.
Adrian is responsible for a number of national programmes including Kinder + Sport Move and Learn, a partnership with Ferrero which since its origins in 2014 has reached over 80,000 children.
Joint CEO & Head of Research, Fatherhood Institute - www.fatherhoodinstitute.org
Adrienne Burgess has written widely on fatherhood and on couples relationships. Her book Fatherhood Reclaimed: the Making of the Modern Father (Vermilion, 1997) helped set a new agenda on fatherhood in the UK, and has been published throughout the world.
Adrienne has produced many research summaries on fathers and fatherhood, as well as practice guides on working with different types of fathers. She contributes to the running of Fatherhood Institute programmes such as FRED (‘Fathers Reading Every Day’) and ‘Healthy Dads, Healthy Kids’.
Adrienne trains and speaks on fatherhood across the world, most recently in London, Luxembourg, Brussels, Qatar, Delhi, Singapore, Hong Kong and Australia. Her review of the UK research on fathers and fatherhood since 1998 - Contemporary Fathers in the UK: What do we Know? What do we need to Know? - is published this year by the Nuffield Foundation.
Founder & Chair, KCA - www.kca.training
Kate Cairns is an author, speaker and trainer with an international reputation for her work around attachment, trauma and resilience. She has been a social worker for 40 years, and a trainer for 20 years.
With her husband Brian and their 3 birth children, Kate provided a permanent family for 12 other children between 1975 and 1997. Thereafter, she worked as a trainer/consultant and writer for the British Association for Adoption and Fostering. In 2002 she published Attachment, Trauma and Resilience, (2nd edition, CoramBAAF, 2016) which explored how these 3 key concepts could provide a structure for understanding ourselves and those with whom we work. The book became a bestseller for BAAF and has influenced practice around the world.
Over the past decade, Kate has focused on translating the insights of current neuroscientific research on brain development and function into accessible knowledge and practice skills for anyone working with children and young people. She has developed on-line learning and vocational qualifications, and provided widely-acclaimed training and consultancy to both universal and specialist services across social work, child care, health and education.
Peace Education Programme Manager, Quaker - www.quaker.org.uk
Isabel Cartwright supports teachers and others who work with children and young people to educate for tolerance and teach peace. A commitment to peace lies at the heart of Quaker faith and practice. Quakers believe that conflict can be a positive force for change, if handled creatively. Peace education helps build understanding that conflict is about more than winning and losing, and that violence can be about injustice as well as physical harm. It encourages children and young people to value each individual, and their interconnectedness with each other and the planet.
Isabel worked for 10 years with young people at risk of exclusion in East London and taught Youth and Community Work at De Montfort University and for the YMCA.
Isabel has also worked on peace education programmes in Northern Ireland and New Zealand, and on-board the around the world voyages of the Japanese Peace Boat, running education programmes for young people from conflict areas.
Founding Partner, Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios - fcbstudios.com
Peter Clegg established Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios with Richard Feilden in 1978. Widely regarded as a key pioneer in the field of environmental design, he has almost 30 years' experience in low energy architecture and is actively involved in research, design and education.
Peter was the primary author of Feilden Clegg Bradley: The Environmental Handbook published in 2007, a substantial account of the practice's sustainable design experience over the last 30 years and a primer on the implementation of environmental best practice. He is Chair of the CABE affliated South West Design Review Panel and a trustee of the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. He was Senior Partner in charge of the architectural developments at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park and the new Central Office for the National Trust in Swindon. Current projects include the Leventis Art Gallery in Cyprus and several new schools and University buildings; whilst recently completed schemes include a substantial Higher Education scheme at Broadcasting Place for Leeds Metropolitan University.
Recent work abroad includes a new school for the Aga Khan Foundation in Kyrgystan, a new school of architecture and planning at the University of British Columbia, and a 900-bed student housing scheme for the University of Washington, Seattle. Peter was appointed as the Sir Arthur Marshall visiting Professor of Sustainable Urban Design at the University of Cambridge and was made a Royal Designer for Industry (RDI) in 2010.
Co-Founder, Alliance for Childhood - www.allianceforchildhood.org.uk
Christopher Clouder FRSA is a freelance speaker and consultant and is the founding director of the Botin Platform for Innovation in Education. From 1989 to 2012 he was the founder and CEO of the European Council for Steiner Waldorf Education. Before this he was a Steiner high school teacher for about 20 years.
Christopher is co-founder of the Alliance for Childhood, a network that facilitates reflection and action by people with concerns about the care and education of children. He is a Fellow of the Learning for Well-being Community, member of the International Forum for Steiner Education, a visiting lecturer on many teacher education seminars around Europe and Supervisor of the Steiner school in Florence.
Christopher has lectured globally at international conferences, not only on Steiner education but also on other educational and cultural subjects, and has written and compiled books and articles. He sees his educational work as serving to build bridges between educational cultures, be they political, social, cultural or academic, and creating a sense of solidarity, renewal and understanding for the benefit of children worldwide.
UK Programme Manager, Roots of Empathy - www.rootsofempathy.org
Roots of Empathy, a charity operating on three continents, was founded by the distinguished Ashoka Fellow, Mary Gordon, in 1996. Its mission is to build caring, peaceful and civil societies through the development of empathy in children and adults, and to break the inter-generational cycle of violence and poor parenting. The focus of Roots of Empathy in the long term is to build capacity of the next generation for responsible citizenship and responsive parenting. In the short term, Roots of Empathy focuses on raising levels of empathy, resulting in more respectful and caring relationships and reduced levels of bullying and aggression.
Katie Cohen joined Roots of Empathy as UK Programme Manager in August 2015. She has 14 years of experience in the voluntary and community sectors, and brings a wealth of marketing, PR and business development skills to this new role. Katie is an experienced leader, with a strong understanding of school systems, philanthropy and government. She is co-author of the UNLtd publication: Changing the World: A Young Person's Guide to Social Entrepreneurship.
Programme Director, Child Rights Partners, UNICEF - www.unicef.org.uk
Director of the Child Rights Partners programme at Unicef UK, Naomi Danquah is leading a multi-disciplinary effort to translate the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child into a practical, outcomes-focused framework for professionals working with children and young people – from policy makers and politicians to practitioners working at the frontline of children’s social care.
Prior to working at Unicef, Naomi has held roles developing and delivering national, transnational and community-based social change programmes for a range of large and small charities and the public sector. She has particular experience in building programmes that focus on community development, literacy development, social justice, participation and gender equality
Unicef UK’s 7 principles of a child rights based approach have been designed to drive change across multiple dimensions – influencing thinking, planning and practice, as well as institutional culture. The 7 principles are: dignity; non-discrimination; best interests of the child; life survival and development; participation; interdependence and indivisibility; and transparency and accountability. The programme rests on a belief that if this set of principles framed everything a local authority does, both in children’s services and other services that impact on children and young people, it would profoundly change the way local authorities work with and for children.
Managing Director, Childwise - www.childwise.co.uk
James Davies has been Managing Director at Childwise for the last 7 years. In that time the company has extended its range of published reports on all aspects of children’s and teenagers' lives. Figures from Childwise are widely quoted in the media and used by a wide range of organisations.
The company also undertakes commissioned research for broadcasters, commercial brands, charities and government bodies.
James's previous experience includes brand management for Reckitt & Colman and Unilever; Planning Director and then Managing Director of the marketing consultancy FFWD, and an academic at Oxford Brookes University, specialising in market research.
Curriculum Director, Key to Learning - www.keytolearning.com
Galina Dolya is the Curriculum Director of Key to Learning, which has developed an innovative Vygotskian approach to Early Years Education. She is an acknowledged world leading expert on the practical application of Vygotsky’s Theory of Learning and Development.
The Vygotskian approach has led to the development of principles, curriculum content and methods aimed at developing the trio of general learning abilities - communicative, self-regulative and cognitive of young children (age 3 to 7). They are the learning abilities that are the prerequisites for success at school and for creative and intellectual achievement.
Galina has worked at every level from early years to university and trained hundreds of teachers and trainers world-wide. Currently she is a Researcher at the Pedagogical Academy of Preschool Education, Moscow. She is based in the UK.
Founder & CEO, Save Childhood Movement - www.savechildhood.net
Wendy Ellyatt is the inspiration behind the creation of the Save Childhood Movement and has been leading its growth. For the last 30 years she has dedicated her time to exploring the unique qualities of human learning and development, with a particular emphasis on the impact of the early years and on what creates lives of meaning and purpose. A well-know writer, consultant and speaker in the field, Wendy has developed 3 educational websites, has been a feature writer for magazines both in the UK and beyond, has a chapter in the much acclaimed book Too Much, Too Soon, is a fellow of the RSA, and was recognised by think tank Demos as a leading thinker for her contribution to the publication Born Creative. Through the movement she is the founder of both National Children’s Day UK and the International Festival of Childhood.
In her own hometown of Cheltenham, Wendy has also explored how we nurture adult wellbeing through the establishment of two highly successful community initiatives. What fulfils us and produces sustainable states of wellbeing? How do we protect both children and adults from systems that undermine our inherent creativity and potential? How do we ensure that we can all feel valued and connected? Wendy’s diverse projects explore the UK’s current education system, the modern world’s erosion of childhood, and our shared need for meaningful relationship, community and contribution.
Owner, Jane Evans Trauma Parenting & Behaviour Consultancy - www.thejaneevans.com
Jane Evans is widely known for her TEDxBristol talk on childhood anxiety, ‘Taming and Tending Your Meerkat Brain’, which has been shared around the World. It encapsulates a common experience of feeling anxious in daily life, with a look at how that plays out in our body and brain. It shows her simple approach using a Meerkat, an elephant and a monkey!
Jane began her career with children and families over two decades ago, working in pre-schools and as a childminder, family support and parenting worker, and as a respite foster carer.
Jane is now a renowned TV, Radio and Social Media Parenting and Childhood Trauma Expert. She has written several books for children which gently look at complex issues, such as getting overwhelmed by anxiety, struggling to process feelings having grown up with emotionally distant adult carers, or living with experiences of domestic violence.
Chair, Mothers at Home Matter - mothersathomematter.co.uk
Anne Fennell joined MAHM 5 years ago and was appointed Chair in 2016. She is passionate that the role of ‘care’ at home is valued. She is keen to see a more just tax system that recognises the family and the role of care, allowing families more of a choice as to how they raise their children.
Anne gave up full time work in publishing after getting married and deciding with her husband that they could not contribute fully to society if they were both working full time. 15 years later Anne has 6 wonderful sons, and has been able to give fully to the family, to the school her sons attend, both as Vice Chair and helper in school, and to the church running a toddler group and starting a fencing club for children.
Anne has been involved locally, campaigning for renewal of boarded up playgrounds, running a street Christmas market, has been part of a team trying to set up a primary school, and attends a local choir. She has a keen interest in philosophy and economics and runs a political discussion club held at the National Liberal Club. She has appeared on Woman’s Hour and BBC 100 Women for MAHM.
Alice Ferguson, Founder, Playing Out and
Amy Harrison, Head of Learning, Architecture Centre - www.playingout.net
Alice Ferguson started the Playing Out project with her neighbour, Amy Rose. They were frustrated about the lack of safe outdoor places for children to play in the Bristol area and set about finding ways to reclaim the streets outside their front doors. The first playing out session happened on June 1st 2009. While adults looked out for cars and chatted, around 30 children of all ages played in the street together. Nothing special was organised – chalk, skipping ropes, bikes and scooters were brought out and children just relished the chance to play in their own street.
Alice is now Managing Director of Playing Out. Her role includes overseeing the organisation, developing new projects and talking up street play to anyone who will listen. Previously, Alice worked in the environmental and voluntary sectors, including for Sustrans, Friends of the Earth and Climateworks, as well as running her own organic food shop. Since being a parent, she has also been actively involved in community efforts towards creating a more liveable neighbourhood, with particular focus on children’s independent mobility and access to public space in the city.
Amy Harrison (BSc, PGCE, QTS) is a passionate and experienced educator in the cultural sector, delivering diverse place engagement programmes with and for children, young people, schools, families and communities as the Head of Learning at the Architecture Centre in Bristol. She is passionate about all children being able to access a diverse cultural offer, and champions the involvement of all citizens in the development of the places and spaces which affect their lives.
In 2014 Amy co-founded the Bristol Child Friendly City Initiative, which champions the civic and cultural life of all children under the age of 14 in Bristol. Amy is also school governor and trustee of a community development charity in inner city Bristol.
Director, Opal CIC Ltd - www.outdoorplayandlearning.org.uk
Michael Follett gained most of his expertise in play before he was 15. He grew up near Bristol with a free play range of 3 miles by the age of 10. He lit fires in the woods, fell off poorly made go-karts and rarely played within half a mile of an adult.
His 6 years as Play Adviser in the Learning and School Effectiveness Team at South Gloucestershire Council covered all areas of play planning and policy delivery, especially the development of improved play policy and practice in primary schools and the design of early years play landscapes. His experience includes work as playworker, teacher, special needs worker, policy officer, school improvement advisor and social entrepreneur. His past achievements include initiating the original Play Rangers and Play Pods projects which have been taken up nationally and internationally. In 2014 Michael was awarded the Paul Bonel Memorial Prize for 'Significant contribution to play and playwork' at the UK National Playwork Awards.
Since 2011 Michael has been director of Outdoor Play and Learning (OPAL). A not-for-profit company set up to improve children's play opportunities especially in schools and early years settings, OPAL has mentors supporting improved play in primary schools across the UK, New Zealand, Canada and Australia.
Michael takes an active part in development of national and international policy and practice. He was on the board of Play England for 6 years. He is currently play advisor to Unilever Empty Classroom, The National Trust and the Football Association (FA), has advised National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE), Ministry of Justice, DCSF (UK Gov), and The Lottery. In 2017 Jessica Kingsley Publishing will be launching Michael's Book Creating Excellence in Primary School Playtimes.
Dame Helen Ghosh DCB
Director General, National Trust - www.nationaltrust.org.uk
Helen joined the civil service from Oxford University, where she read modern history. During her civil service career, Helen worked in a wide range of Government departments, including seven years as a Permanent Secretary in two departments, Defra and the Home Office, working on multiple social policy issues, including child poverty, asylum and immigration, and local community regeneration. She also worked on key environmental policies, including climate change mitigation and adaptation, and the protection of habitat for endangered species.
In late 2012, Helen moved to become Director-General of the National Trust, where her interest in history, people and places, and her commitment to the environment come together. Since joining the Trust, Helen has overseen an ambitious program of work, including leading the development of our 10-year strategy, Playing Our Part and committing £2 million a week to the conservation of our landscapes, houses and coastline. Helen is a long-term member of the Trust and of her local Wildlife Trust in Oxfordshire. She is married to an academic and has a son and daughter, who are in their twenties. She lives in Oxford and includes family life, looking after her allotment, walking and watching ballet among her relaxations.
She was appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the Bath (DCB) in the Queen's Birthday Honours list in June 2008. In 2010, The Tablet named her as one of Britain’s most influential Roman Catholics.
Founder, Rethinking Childhood - www.rethinkingchildhood.com
Tim Gill is one of the UK’s leading thinkers on childhood. For over 15 years his research, writing and consultancy work has focused on children’s play and free time, and has had a real, positive impact on children’s everyday lives. His influential book No Fear: Growing up in a Risk-averse Society was published in 2007.
Tim believes that children and young people have the potential to be more resilient, responsible, capable and creative than we give them credit for. Yet their lives are becoming ever more scheduled, controlled and directed. If children are to enjoy and make the most of their lives, we need to revisit and revise our ideas of what a good childhood looks and feels like.
Tim was Director of the Children’s Play Council (now Play England) from 1997 to 2004. In 2002 he was seconded to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to lead the first ever Government-sponsored review of children’s play. The review was chaired by Frank Dobson and shaped the Big Lottery Fund’s subsequent £155 million Children's Play Initiative funding programme.
Tim's consultancy clients include the Greater London Authority, Barnardos, the Forestry Commission, the National Trust, Argent plc and the London Legacy Development Company, and he is a Built Environment Expert for Design Council CABE.
Director, Institute for Neuro-physiological Psychology - www.inpp.org.uk
Sally Goddard-Blythe trained at the INPP in 1987/88, joining the permanent staff in 1988. Since then she has written numerous articles and papers on neuro-developmental factors in educational difficulties. In 1996 her first book, A Teacher’s Window into the Child’s Mind, was published by Fern Ridge Press in the U.S.A. It was subsequently extended and updated under the new title of Reflexes, Learning and Behaviour, has been translated into 6 languages, and has provided the basic information on the significance, assessment and remediation of abnormal reflexes for many other professionals.
Other titles authored by Sally include:The Genius of Natural Childhood (2011) published by Hawthorn Press, What Babies and Children REALLY Need (2008) published by Hawthorn Press, and The INPP Screening Test for Clinicians and Health Practitioners, published by Wiley-Blackwell (2014).
In 1996, Sally adapted and extended the INPP clinical programme for application to schools in the form of “The Developmental Test Battery and Exercise Programmes for use in Schools with Children with Special Needs”. This programme has been taught to thousands of teachers in the UK, Germany, The Netherlands, Hungary and Poland over the last 12 years and has been the subject of a number of independent studies. Sally has also been the driving force behind the development of a standardised international protocol for the provision of training in The INPP Method.
Founder & Director, Grant Associates - grant-associates.uk.com
Andrew is a Landscape Architect whose work explores the connection between people and nature and he formed Grant Associates in 1997 to test the creative possibilities of sustainable landscape architecture and ecological placemaking. In 2012 he was awarded the title of Royal Designer for Industry (RDI) in recognition of his pioneering global work in landscape architecture. He is a Visiting Professor for the Department of Landscape, Sheffield University, and an Honorary Fellow of the RIBA reﬂecting his work on key architectural projects such as the 2008 Stirling Prize winning Accordia. Andrew led the multi-disciplinary design team on the £500 million Gardens by the Bay project at Bay South in Singapore. This 54 hectare public park has won multiple international design awards including the Building Project of the year at the 2012 World Architecture Festival. He is a co-founder of the Forest of Imagination project in Bath.
Chief Executive - Childhood Trust www.childhoodtrust.org.uk
Laurence Guinness joined the Childhood Trust in September 2016, a charity founded with a simple vision: to support vulnerable children living in poverty in London. Laurence first moved into the not- for-profit sector in 2009, following a successful career developing, producing and distributing award winning animation and film content internationally. During his tenure as Director of Campaigns, Research and Communications at Kids Company, Laurence campaigned on issues such as childhood food insecurity, children's services and child and adolescent mental health.
Laurence also directed one of the UK’s largest charitably funded programmes of neurophysiological and psychological child development research. He has extensive experience in bringing together and working with stakeholders, such as professional membership organisations and institutes, corporate partners, journalists, philanthropists and donors to effect change for vulnerable children at a grass roots level. His campaigning achievements have substantially raised the profile of childhood hunger and food insecurity in the UK, providing tens of thousands of meals for children impacted by poverty. Most recently Laurence has worked with the Big Change Charitable Trust and the Inspire Dialogue Foundation.
Secretary General, Eurochild - www.eurochild.org
Eurochild is a network of organisations and individuals working in and across Europe to promote the rights and well-being of children and young people. Its vision is a society where children and young people grow up happy, healthy and confident and respected as individuals in their own right. Its mission is to promote the rights and well-being of children in policy and practice through advocacy, membership exchange and research. Its work is underpinned by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).
Jana Hainsworth joined Eurochild as Secretary General in January 2006. She is responsible for the day-to-day running of the network, which brings together over 170 organisations and individuals from across Europe to promote the rights and welfare of children. She previously worked in a Brussels-based communications consultancy where she was project manager for a communications contract under the EU’s Community Action Programme to combat discrimination.
Jana has also managed a network of organisations promoting long-term voluntary service in the youth field, and has worked for several years in a research and consultancy firm on different technical assistance contracts for the European Commission.
CEO, Family Links - www.familylinks.org.uk
Family Links a national charity dedicated to empowering children, parents, families, schools and workplaces to be emotionally healthy.
Nick Haisman-Smith is an experienced teacher and charity leader who specialises in improving emotional health outcomes for adults and children. Before joining Family Links, Nick co-founded The Institute for Social and Emotional Learning, a teacher renewal and professional development initiative providing evidence-led practices and curricula for K-12th Grade Teachers.
Nick holds Masters degrees from the University of Oxford, Stanford University and The University of Bristol and is currently a doctoral researcher at The University of Bristol. Nick is also currently authoring a book on emotional health and behaviour in schools for SAGE Publications. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and a Trustee of the Blackbird Academy Trust in Blackbird Leys, Oxford.
Dr Neil and Jane Hawkes
Founders, Values-based Education - www.valuesbasededucation.com
Dr Neil and Jane Hawkes work to inspire schools to adopt a form of transformational education known as Values-based Education (VbE), which is being adopted by schools worldwide. Neil was trained as a teacher and Jane as a psychotherapist.
As a headteacher, Neil worked with the community of West Kidlington School in Oxfordshire to develop VbE. Their work is often described as simple yet so profound, which is why so many schools have adopted VbE. VbE provides students with a dynamic compass at school and throughout the rest of their lives, strengthening their resilience and well-being. It nurtures the development of good character, deep thinking and altruistic behaviour. The outcome of VbE is the positive transformation of individuals and institutions - exactly what our world needs
Neil and Jane believe that the spotlight should be on the heroes of education, who are the members of staff of schools, who need to recognise how very important they are to the personal, social and academic development of children - the future of our society.
UK Representative, World Forum, Early Care and Education
Laura Henry is an 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.
For three decades Laura has used her skills to support those who work directly with children, training thousands of individuals. She is passionate about quality in early childhood and ensuring that children receive the best possible care and education to help them reach their full potential. Laura regularly contributes to education and parenting publications, and has sat on judging panels for GESS, Nursery World and Nursery Management Today awards. She has used her specialist knowledge to work with government departments as well as national and international organisations, forums and working parties.
Laura set up and hosts the popular global free weekly Twitter chat #EYTalking for teachers and educators, which has over 11,000 individuals sharing and connecting. She was recently chosen as a Global Master Leader in Education. There are 49 experts on the list and she is the only educational specialist from England. She has used her creative leadership skills to set up and advise social enterprise companies, and her expertise was fully recognised when she was invited to be a regional judge for the Bill Clinton Foundation and Hult Prize.
Dr Kathy Hirsh-Pasek
Professor, Temple University - http://kathyhirshpasek.com
Kathryn Hirsh-Pasek is the Stanley and Debra Lefkowitz Faculty Fellow in the Department of Psychology at Temple University and a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution. Her research examines the development of early language and literacy as well as the role of play in learning.
With her long-term collaborator, Roberta Golinkoff, Kathy is author of 14 books and hundreds of publications, she is the recipient of the American Psychological Association’s Bronfenbrenner Award, the American Psychological Association’s Award for Distinguished Service to Psychological Science, the Association for Psychological Science James McKeen Cattell Award, the Society for Research in Child Development, Distinguished Scientific Contributions to Child Development Award and the APA Distinguished Lecturer Award. She is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association and the American Psychological Society, is the President of the International Society for Infant Studies and served as the Associate Editor of Child Development.
Kathy is on the Steering Committee of the Latin American School for Education, Cognitive Neural Science as well as on the advisory board for Vroom, The Boston Children’s Museum, The Free to Be Initiative and Jumpstart. Her book, Einstein never used Flashcards: How children really learn and why they need to play more and memorize less, (Rodale Books) won the prestigious Books for Better Life Award as the best psychology book in 2003. Her recent book, Becoming Brilliant: What the science tells us about raising successful children, released in 2016 was on the NYTimes Best Seller List in Education and Parenting. Kathy is a frequent spokesperson for her field appearing in the NYTimes, NPR and on international television outlets.
Carol Homden CBE
CEO, Coram - www.coram.org.uk
Carol Homden started her career setting up print media enterprises in East Anglia, before moving to London as a freelance arts journalist and editor. She then became Director of Marketing and Development at the University of Westminster, later moving to the British Museum in 1999 as its first Director of Marketing and Public Affairs. Her affinity for improving the lives of young people motivated her to accept the position of Commercial Director for the Prince’s Trust in 2003, where she was responsible for all aspects of income generation.
In April 2007, Carol became Chief Executive of Coram, which is celebrating 275 years of helping create better chances for children. She is Chair of the National Autistic Society, and a member of the Department for Education’s Children’s Interagency Group (CIAG) and the Youth Justice Board for England and Wales. Carol was awarded a CBE in 2013 for her contribution to services for children and families.
Director – Children Rights Alliance England (CRAE) - www.crae.org.uk
The Children's Rights Alliance for England seeks the full implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in England. Its vision is of a society where the human rights of all children are recognised and realised. CRAE protects children's rights by lobbying goverment and others who hold power by bringing or supporting test cases and by using regional and international human rights mechanisms.
Louise King rejoined CRAE in March 2015 (having been Senior Policy Officer between 2002 and 2006). Prior to this she worked at Save the Children. Most recently, Louise led on child rights governance policy and advocacy in the UK. She has also been Vice President of Euronet - the European Children’s Network, and Chair of the Separated Children in Europe Programme.
Louise has facilitated numerous participatory workshops for children to learn about their rights, and supported children to advocate for the realisation of their rights in numerous policy areas, including protection from violence, immigration and reform of the Children’s Commissioner for England. She has also mentored teenagers at risk of getting in trouble with the law.
Director of External Relations & Company Secretary, WAVE - www.wavetrust.org
Anthoulla Koutsoudi was a Solicitor in private legal practice for 27 years until 2010, specialising in commercial property transactions and non-contentious legal work. Prior to 2010, Anthoulla provided pro bono and financial support to WAVE while pursuing her career as a Solicitor.
WAVE works to break cycles of family dysfunction and child maltreatment by finding solutions to the root causes of damage. WAVE’s ever-growing sphere of influence and achievements led to expansion of opportunities for it to achieve social transformation. The possibilities excited Anthoulla such that she could no longer remain in the law. She left the legal profession in 2010 to join the management team, and to present WAVE's preventive message and strategic solutions to audiences throughout the UK.
Anthoulla fills two key roles within WAVE - Company Secretary and in-house lawyer and Director of External Relations.
Dr Natalia Kucirkova
Senior Lecturer in Early Childhood & Digital Technologies
Dr Natalia Kucirkova graduated in Psychology, holds a Masters in Research Methods and a Doctorate in Education. She worked at the Oxford University Education Department, pursued a pre-doctoral fellowship at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and currently works as Senior Research Fellow at University College London.
Natalia's research concerns innovative ways of supporting children’s book reading, digital literacy and exploring the role of personalisation in early years. She is the founding convenor of the Children’s Digital Books SIG of the United Kingdom Literacy Association and Chair of the Children’s Digital Book Award.
Natalia's publications have appeared in Communication Disorders Quarterly, First Language, Computers & Education or Cambridge Journal of Education. She has been commended for her engagement with teachers and parents at a national and international level.
Deputy CEO, StreetGames UK - www.streetgames.org
The StreetGames charity was set up by half a dozen organisers of neighbourhood sports projects. In 2005 they came together to make sport more widely available for disadvantaged young people and to maximize the power of sport to change young lives. After securing funding from Sport England Lottery, StreetGames launched officially in 2007.
Originally qualified as a primary school teacher, Mark Lawrie worked in East Sussex and Hertfordshire before joining Reading Borough Council as Active Schools Manager in 1999. He returned to education to become the Extended Schools Manager for Reading in Children's Services in 2006, and then joined StreetGames in 2008, becoming the National Operations Manager in the autumn of 2009.
In 2011 Mark left StreetGames to become the founding Chief Executive of Get Berkshire Active, a new and independent County Sports Partnership. He returned to StreetGames as Deputy Chief Executive in May 2013, when the organisation secured £20 million to deliver 1,000 Doorstep Sport Clubs in England. In this new role, Mark leads all of StreetGames’ operations across the UK.
CEO, Pre-School Learning Alliance - www.pre-school.org.uk
Neil Leitch is Chief Executive of the Pre-school Learning Alliance, the largest voluntary sector childcare operator in the UK. As the largest early years membership organisation in England, the Alliance also represents 14,000 nurseries, pre-schools, and childminders, who in turn support more than 800,000 families.
Prior to joining 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, an organisation committed to protecting the rights of borrowers and raising standards within the second mortgage market.
Neil was recently elected a Fellow of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) for his work within the early years sector.
Dr Bex Lewis
Senior Lecturer in Digital Marketing
Dr Bex Lewis is passionate about helping people engage with the digital world in a positive way, where she has 19+ years of experience. Trained as a mass communications historian, writing the original history of Keep Calm and Carry On, she is Senior Lecturer in Digital Marketing at Manchester Metropolitan University. She is also Visiting Research Fellow at St John’s College, Durham University, with a particular interest in digital culture and how this affects the third sector, especially faith organisations, voluntary organisations, and government behavioural campaigns.
Bex is Director of social media consultancy Digital Fingerprint, and is author of Raising Children in a Digital Age’(Lion Hudson, 2014), which has been featured on 'The One Show', BBC News, 'Steve Wright in the Afternoon', and in the Daily Telegraph, The Church Times, and many other publications.
Dr Tony Lloyd
CEO, ADHD Foundation - www.adhdfoundation.org.uk
Dr Tony Lloyd is CEO of the ADHD Foundation established in 2007. The Foundation is the leading ADHD Charity in the UK, providing training for schools and the NHS across the UK. It campaigns for the provision of a multi modal NICE guidelines service for families affected by ADHD.
Tony has worked as a specialist child and adolescent psychotherapist for over 20 years and as a consultant to several charities. More recently, in his capacity as CEO of the ADHD Foundation, Tony has advised several NHS and Local Authority commissioners on the design and implementation of new pathways and services to support families and adults living with and affected by ADHD.
Tony has published research and numerous articles on ADHD and writes regularly for mainstream and health and education sector media. He is currently an advisor for the BBC Horizon Team, who are making a documentary about ADHD to be screened in the Spring.
Anne Longfield OBE
Current Children’s Commissioner for England - www.childrenscommissioner.gov.uk
Anne Longfield took up the post of Children’s Commissioner for England in March 2015. She is tasked in law with promoting and protecting the rights, and working in the interests of all children in England, particularly the most vulnerable, such as those in care.
Anne has been a leading figure in children and family policy for over 30 years. She has led numerous campaigns, inquiries and commissions that have influenced successive Governments, and has worked on a number of high profile children and family programmes, including in the Prime Minister's Strategy Unit within Cabinet Office.
Anne was formerly Chief Executive of the leading children’s charity, 4Children. Under her leadership, it became an award-winning national champion of change, running groundbreaking services for children and families. A passionate supporter of early intervention, Anne played a major role in the development of the Early Intervention Foundation of which she is a trustee.
She received an OBE in recognition of her contribution to children in the Millennium honours and gained the Freedom of the City of London in 2013 for services to children in the capital.
Dr Mike Loosemore
Founder, Active Movement - www.activemovement.co.uk
Dr Mike Loosemore is a Consultant in Sport and Exercise Medicine within the NHS and one of the lead Sports Physicians for the English Institute of Sport, at the Institute of Sport, Exercise and Health, University College London. He is the founder of 'Active Movement'.
Active Movement is concerned with sedentary lifestyles and the way they affect our health. Aimed at schools, businesses and the elderly, its programmes are designed to educate, inspire and protect the well-being of everyone from a young age and for a lifetime. They're tailor-made and creatively integrate low level activity into daily routines.
Mike has travelled extensively with national squads, accompanying teams to Olympic and Commonwealth Games, World and European Championships. He is active in various fields of sport and exercise medicine research and has published work on different aspects of SEM.
Miranda McKearney OBE
Founder, Empathy Lab UK - www.empathylab.uk
Miranda McKearney is a social entrepreneur inspired by the power of words to change lives. She founded national charity The Reading Agency in 2002 after 25 years of pioneering work on marketing literature and libraries. The charity now reaches one million people a year with experiences turning them into readers for life. She received an OBE in 2005 for services to education and libraries.
Miranda has now embarked on a new life which involves spending much less time on the 7.48 to Waterloo. She has started a new organisation, EmpathyLab, which aims to build children’s empathy skills and social activism through stories. It targets 4-11 year olds and is working experimentally with 11 pioneer primary schools.
In her spare time Miranda goes trekking and reads ferociously. She is a trustee of Jane Austen’s House Museum and Chair of the Book Marketing Society.
Principal, Steiner Academy, Frome - www.steineracademyfrome.co.uk
Trevor Mepham is Principal of the Steiner Academy, Frome and former Principal of the Steiner Academy, Hereford.
Prior to that, Trevor spent 12 years working in the Faculty of Education at the University of Plymouth, teaching on the Steiner BA Programme and a European Masters Programme. He has served as member of the Executive Group of the UK Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship (SWSF) and also as member of the Board of the European Council for Steiner Waldorf (ECSWE).
Trevor started out as a Class Teacher at the South Devon Rudolf Steiner School in Dartington and then went into classroom advisory and mentoring work.
Outside of school and work, Trevor is a Trustee of the charity, Children of Peace.
Director/Chairman, Evolve - www.evolvesi.com
Graham Morgan is a serial innovator and award winning social entrepreneur with significant international experience in sport, sports marketing and football coaching. Nationally he has made contributions to education, grassroots sport and more recently health and wellbeing.
Graham co-founded Evolve: A Social Impact Company as a social enterprise in 2009 and has been working towards bringing health and education closer together in schools since then. Evolve has won many awards and received significant praise from 2 independent studies on its delivery of Project HERO from Leeds Beckett University and LKMco.
A graduate PE specialist, Graham taught for 9 years in Norwich before moving to Bradford to become the UK’s first ever Football Development Officer. He was already working for the FA when appointed as Coach to the England Schoolboys U18 team and later awarded the status of FA Staff Coach.
In 1989 Graham moved to adidas and progressed to Head of Global Grassroots Football and later Head of UK Sport. During this time, he scouted and then recruited a relatively unknown teenager, David Beckham, to join the adidas brand. He also initiated the formation of the Association of Football Coaches and Teachers(AFCAT) that gave English Football its first national football coaches association and devised the first ever adidas FIFA Grassroots Football Parc in Paris for World Cup 1998.
Professor Agnes Nairn
Specialist, Marketing, Ethics and Child Wellbeing - www.hult.edu
Professor Agnes Nairn is a Dean of the London Post Graduate Campus of Hult International Business School - a leader in global business education. Prior to taking up this post she was a researcher, writer, consultant and speaker on issues related to marketing, ethics and the wellbeing of children and young people – issues about which she is passionate. She is particularly keen that the latest research is used to inform policy decisions.
Agnes's work has won a number of awards and is widely published in books, academic journal articles and policy reports. She is a frequent media commentator on the ethics of marketing to children, and has served on a number of government panels on issues related to children, marketing and health, as well as with the United Nations on advertising and cultural rights.
Agnes holds visiting Professorships at EM-Lyon Business School in France, University of Edinburgh Business School, Department of Social and Policy Science, University of Bath, and School of Management, University of Bath.
Youth Sport Trust - www.youthsporttrust.org
Ali Oliver is the Youth Sport Trust's Chief Executive Officer. The Youth Sport Trust is a national charity passionate about creating a brighter future for all young people through sport. In her previous role as Managing Director, Ali was responsible for leading the Youth Sport Trust's Sporting Start, Sporting Chance and Sporting Best strategies, and oversaw the work of the organisation's team of development staff. Ali headed up key Youth Sport Trust strategic partnerships, and her team deliver the Youth Sport Trust Membership programme, service its network of Partner Schools, and are responsible for the development and implementation of national projects such as the School Games, Change4Life Sports Clubs, Sky Sports Living for Sport, and TOP Sportsability.
Ali has worked in education and sports development for 20 years. She joined the Youth Sport Trust in 2004 as Implementation Director working to establish the network of School Sport Partnerships, and became the Director of Sport before moving into her current role. Prior to that, Ali was the Deputy Director of Sport at the University of Bath, where she was also the Director of Netball. Ali was in charge of academic programmes, including the PGCE Physical Education programme, and worked on the English Institute of Sport project. Before moving to the University of Bath, Ali was Head of PE at Millfield School, having started her career as a PE teacher in Essex.
Author, Literary Specialist and Commentator - www.suepalmer.co.uk
Sue Palmer, a former primary headteacher, is a literacy specialist, writer, presenter and ‘childhood campaigner’. She has written over 250 books, software packages and TV programmes for schools on aspects of literacy. Consultancy work has included England’s National Literacy Strategy, the National Literacy Trust and the BBC.
Sue's books on child development in the modern world – notably Toxic Childhood (second edition 2015), 21st Century Boys and 21st Century Girls – have led to many appearances in the media commenting on childhood issues. Her latest book, Upstart: the case for raising the school starting age and providing what the under-sevens really need, was published in 2016.
Sue chaired the Scottish Play Commission, served on the Scottish Government’s Early Years Task Force and currently chairs the 'Upstart Scotland' campaign. A freelance writer and consultant since 1986, she’s very pleased to be listed in Who’s Who (since 2014) and Debrett’s People of Today (2015) for her work around modern childhood. She’s also twice been named by the Evening Standard as among the 1000 most influential people in London (which gave her particular pleasure, since she lives in Edinburgh).
Professor Dame Alison Peacock DBE
CEO, Chartered College of Teaching - www.collegeofteaching.org
Alison Peacock, DBE, DL, DLitt is Chief Executive of the Chartered College of Teaching, which opened membership in January 2017 and aims to provide a professional body 'by teachers, for teachers'.
Until December 2016, she was Headteacher of the Wroxham School and Educational Research Centre in Hertfordshire. She led the school out of special measures less than a year after her appointment (Jan 2003), and it was subsequently judged by Ofsted to be outstanding (2006, 2009, 2013).
Alison's teaching career spans, primary, secondary and advisory roles. She is advising the Welsh Government on Curriculum and Assessment and was appointed by the DfE as a member of the Commission for Assessment without levels and a member of the ITT Expert Group and CPD expert Group. She is a trustee of Teach First and a member of the Royal Society Education Committee and a trustee of the Chartered Institute of Educational Assessors.
Alison was previously a member of the Royal Society Vision committee, CBI Education Reference Group, Cambridge Primary Review Trust, NAHT Commission for Assessment, Member of the Prince's Trust Commission for the proposed Royal College of Teaching and was previously a member of the Teaching Schools Council.
In July 2014 Alison was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Brighton and in May 2015 was appointed as a Deputy Lieutenant of Hertfordshire. In December 2015 she was appointed as Visiting Professor of the University of Hertfordshire.
Alison has worked in partnership with education researchers to document her innovative work as a teacher and creative school leader. Throughout her career, she has sought to teach and lead in a manner that encourages the voice of the child, building a trusting environment for dialogue that enriches understanding and builds communities of lifelong learning. She is author of Assessment for Learning Without Limits (2006) and co-author of Creating Learning Without Limits (2012)
Director, Outdoor People - outdoorpeople.org.uk
Hackney based explorer and social entrepreneur, Cath Prisk was worried about the 1 in 7 London children who – according to a Natural England survey – NEVER get to a green space. So she set up Outdoor People.
Currently Cath is heading up a global campaign (Outdoor Classroom Day) and she runs a camping shop in one of Hackney’s coolest hipster spots, Netil Market. She’s also an advisor to the campaign to make London the first National Park City. Prior to setting up Outdoor People, Cath was director of Play England for 5 years, where she worked with the Cabinet Office to get more than 100,000 people involved in helping children play outside, investing in community organisations across England and campaigning for greater investment and support for freedom to play through both the Playday and Love Outdoor Play campaigns.
Over the last few year Cath has been researching the barriers and potential solutions to enticing children and their parent’s outdoors.
Founder, Connectar Creative Education - www.connectar.co.uk
Sushma Sahajpal is a published writer, speaker and founder of Connectar Creative Education, and a former Director of the Save Childhood Movement. Her work is dedicated to the unleashing of children’s whole-being potential through innovative educational resources, talks and workshops. It explores both academic (RE, Maths, Geography, History, Art) and philosophical concepts, such as belonging, belief and diversity, across school enrichment events, education conferences and a range of interfaith spaces.
Sushma delivers teacher training on creative RE, and consultancy on designing RE syllabuses around the country, with specialist knowledge of the Dharmic (Indian) Philosophies and Practices. She has written on Hinduism for the teacher’s journal, RE Today, and is an expert advisor and resource-writer for the nationally acclaimed RE:Online.
Director, Wild Network - www.thewildnetwork.com
Mark Sears is Director of The Wild Network and Marketing Director for Nature. The Wild Network is on a mission to re-wild childhood. Its mission is to support children, parents and guardians to roam free, play wild and connect with nature, in the belief that all children should have the right to access the outdoors for play, learning, expression and - ultimately - the development of a healthy mind and body.
Mark is also a dad working out how to bring his kids up wild. He loves hanging out in the woods, downland meadows and by the sea.
Recognised barriers for Mark that he would like to see changes to are: traffic and road safety; perceptions towards stranger danger; risk averse culture; lack of unstructured play opportunities; decreasing access to wild natural green spaces; lack of environmental learning in the curriculum; over-development and planning around places; consumerism and advertising to children; commercialisation of play; rise of screen-time; increasingly time-poor parents.
CEO, Council for Learning Outside the Classroom - www.lotc.org.uk
CLOtC is a national charity that campaigns to get children out and about more often, believing that EVERY child should have the opportunity to experience the world beyond the classroom walls as an essential part of learning and development.
Elaine Skates joined CLOtC in 2009 as Head of Operations and Communications and was promoted to Chief Executive in 2014. Highlights of her career so far include writing and implementing the charity's communications strategy; developing training and resources to support curriculum delivery; working to ensure the inclusion of LOtC opportunities in the new national curriculum; and launching and developing its membership scheme as a core funding stream and product which today delivers support for over 800 schools, organisations and individuals.
Before joining CLOtC in 2009, Elaine worked for Warwickshire Wildlife Trust, Staffordshire Wildlife Trust and the Institution of Chemical Engineers. She currently sits on the Board of Governors at Abbots Farm Infant School and the management committee of Rugby Gymnastics Club.
Principal Consultant, Early Learning Consultancy
Nancy Stewart is a skilled teacher, consultant and trainer with nationally recognised expertise in early years development and learning, and quality improvement in teaching and provision. She has worked closely with Department for Education policy teams in implementing national programmes, and in drafting revisions to curriculum and assessment in the Early Years Foundation Stage review. She has taught and led teams working with children from birth to 8, and has significant experience of training early years practitioners and supporting action research.
Nancy has been central to developing national training materials on assessment and on pedagogy, particularly around the role of the adult in playful teaching and learning. In addition, early communication and language for thinking is a prime area of interest and expertise, along with children’s development as self-regulated learners.
Nancy's writing includes the influential How Children Learn: The Characteristics of Effective Early Learning, and she co-produced Development Matters in the EYFS. She serves as Vice Chair of TACTYC.
Early Years Researcher
Beth Thomas has worked in a variety of early years settings over the past 15 years: at an out of school play club; as a teaching assistant in a Reception classroom; as a childminder (for 6 years); as a lead practitioner in a busy day nursery; and as a practitioner in a pack away preschool. She also writes regularly for practitioner magazines.
Beth studied her BA (Hons) Early Years with The Open University for 6 years before embarking on Early Years Initial Teacher Training at the University of Brighton. She continues to study and is currently working toward a Master's Research degree in Childhood Studies. Her main area of focus is children's transitions. She has seen first hand how children can struggle when faced with change, and seeks to find out how best to support them in their unique situations. The Transition Story Books range was born out of this interest, each book written for a particular child Beth was caring for at the time.
Beth's current research project focuses on children moving house. Whilst plenty of information is available about children's health, behavioural and cognitive outcomes several years after moving house - showing detrimental effects for some children - there is no in-depth qualitative research into children's experiences to find out how practitioners can support them best at the actual time of transition. Beth is keen to learn from practitioners, parents and children about their experiences and intends to incorporate this project in her Master's Research.
Leslee Udwin and Helen Lumgair
Founder and Education Director, Think Equal - www.thinkequal.com
Think Equal's mission is to work towards a world in which children of all genders, ethnicities, religions and other backgrounds have optimal opportunities to develop their full potential, have their views respected, respect one another, live free of discrimination and violence, become youth leaders, and active participants of a free and equal world.
Leslee Udwin is a BAFTA and multi-award winning film producer/director. Her work as a filmmaker includes “East is East”, “Who Bombed Birmingham?” (which led to the release of the Birmingham 6 after 17 years of wrongful imprisonment) and “India’s Daughter”, which has sparked a global movement for gender quality. Now a Human Rights Campaigner, she was awarded the Anna Lindh Human Rights Award in the Swedish Parliament, voted Global Hero by Safe Magazine, Global Thinker Award by Foreign Policy, and voted by the NY Times the Second Most Impactful Woman 2015, after Hillary Clinton. Leslee is a PLAN Ambassador.
Helen Lumgair studied Structural Cognitive Modifiability, Mediated Learning Experience and Instrumental Enrichment at The International Centre for the Enhancement of Learning Potential in Jerusalem. She is Founder of The Educationalist and of ENABLE Early Years Conferences, and her awards include BA (Hons) Early Years Teaching, Kingston University, Montessori Intl Dip, MCI, Feuerstein IE Mediator. Helen has taught in schools in the UK and abroad, and as a private teacher for families, including heads of state. Her extensive global experience includes home-schooling programmes, and extending, adapting, and implementing curricula to meet the needs of children with a range of learning dispositions, with a focus on the development of holistic strategies.
Adrian Voce OBE
President, European Network for Child Friendly Cities - www.childinthecity.org
Adrian Voce is a writer and consultant on policy and planning for children's play. In November 2016 he became the second President of the European Network for Child Friendly Cities (succeeding Dr. Jan Van Gils), and is also on the steering group for the UK's Playwork Foundation.
Previously, as the founding director of Play England, Adrian was the main architect of the Play Strategy for England (2008-11): advising the government, drafting and commissioning guidance documents and directing the support services for local authorities. He played the key role in securing £350m of public funding for children's play in England and led the support for councils to build 3000 new play areas and 30 staffed adventure playgrounds.
Earlier, after more than 10 years as a playworker, Adrian was the first director of London Play (1998-2004), securing a play policy from the London Mayor and drafting official guidance on play strategies for the London Boroughs. Under his leadership, London Play built a number of successful independent play associations and developed the gold standard for quality assurance in staffed play provision in England: Quality in Play.
Adrian has contributed to and produced a number of influential play and playwork publications and has appeared often in the national media speaking or writing about children's play provision. His first book as an independent author, Policy for Play – responding to children’s forgotten right (Policy Press) was published in 2015. In 2011, Adrian was awarded an OBE for services to children.
Penny Webb BEM
Penny's Place Childminding Blog - pennysplacechildminding.com
Penny Webb has been involved within the childminding sector for over 30 years. She has had 2 separate registrations as a Registered Childminder from 1984 – 2004 and from 2010 – 2016.
In between the two registrations Penny worked as Childminding Development Officer for Worcestershire Local Authority, taking the lead on Childminding Networks. Penny has also been involved with other areas of the early years sector such as nurseries and pre-schools, through tutoring, quality assurance assessments and her volunteering.
Penny is passionate about ensuring that all children experience enabling environments, environments that help them to reach their full potential, whatever that might be, by following their interests, with the support of attentive adults who know when to become involved and when to stand back. Through its campaigning activities, Penny has also been a core member of the Save Childhood Movement Early Years Education Team.
Director, PEDal Centre (Centre for Research on Play in Education, Dev & Learning)
Currently Director of the new PEDal Centre (Centre for Research on Play in Education, Development & Learning) at the University of Cambridge, Dr David Whitebread is a globally recognised developmental cognitive psychologist and early years specialist. Before joining the faculty at Cambridge University he taught in Primary schools, mainly in Leicestershire, for 12 years.
His research interests are concerned with children's cognitive development and implications for early years and primary education.
A particular focus has been the development of metacognitive awareness and strategic control in relation to a number of areas of learning. These have included children's problem solving and reasoning, mathematical strategies and road safety skills. Other interests include children learning through play, evolutionary psychology and the application of cognitive neuroscience to education.
David's current research focus is concerned with the early development of metacognition and self-regulation in young children, and with the role of play and language in supporting this development. He is the acting Director of Research for the Save Childhood Movement.
Founder, Right from the Start - www.right-from-the-start.org
Sarah Woodhouse founded Right from the Start following her experiences as lead author of the first Amnesty International Education Pack for Secondary Schools - Teaching and Learning about Human Rights. She became convinced that starting with secondary school students was far too late, and that it was critically important to work with young families and their children in the earliest years.
Sarah read Social Sciences at University, and has been closely involved in different ways with babies, children and their families ever since. She worked with children on probation, then as Home Tutor, teaching Secondary School children excluded from school for disturbed and violent behaviour. Whilst setting up Therapeutic Playgroups at the NSPCC for mothers with their ‘at risk’ children in the 1970s, she became acutely conscious of the loneliness and neglect that can be passed on from one generation to the next.
Sarah has also been active in other areas. She set up and ran a club with pupils from Lancing College – developing swimming, rowing, riding and art projects for physically and mentally disabled children and young people, and for many years she worked for the local Citizens Advice Bureau. She was also on the Council of Amnesty International.
Dr Suzanne Zeedyk
Founder, Connected Baby - www.connectedbaby.net
Dr. Suzanne Zeedyk is a research scientist fascinated by babies’ inborn capacity to communicate. Since 1993, she has been based at the University of Dundee, within the School of Psychology. In 2011, she set up her own independent training enterprise - Connected Baby - to disseminate more widely the science of the early years and how crucial relationships are for human health, happiness and well-being.
Suzanne now spends much of her time speaking to the public about our human need for emotional and physiological connection. She is able to bring to this her research expertise on topics including parent-infant relationships, family support, communicative disorders, and the socio-political contexts that frame our responses to scientific information. She works closely with organisations throughout the world to increase awareness of the decisions we take about caring for children, illuminating the way in which those decisions are integrally connected to our vision for the kind of society we wish to build.