08.45 - 09.15


09.15 - 09.20

Chair’s welcome

Liz Roberts, Editor-in-Chief of Nursery World, sets the scene for the day.

09.20 - 9.30

Government keynote: early years education and childcare policy

The Government has announced extra funding for early years entitlements and an Early Years Recovery programme. What progress has been made and what are the future priorities?

Will Quince MP, minister for children and families in the Department for Education, via video address

9.30 - 10.00

Early years policy and spending

Analysis from the Institute for Fiscal Studies of early years policy and spending, plus the wider landscape of public finances.

Christine Farquharson, senior research economist at the IFS

10.00 - 10.30

Inspection update

Ofsted’s views on how early years providers are faring post-pandemic and its plans going forward. Plus: Q&A

Amanda Spielman, HM Chief Inspector, Ofsted

10.30 - 11.00

The UK day nursery market

Courteney Donaldson MRICSManaging Director – Childcare & Education, Christie & Co

11.00 - 11.20

Break: your chance to network and view our exhibition of leading early years suppliers

11.20 - 12.05

Partnership session with OakNorth Bank

Funding growth in early years: strategies to help you stand out and thrive

While the early years sector has undoubtedly been affected by the pandemic, the last couple of years has also seen the industry show incredible flexibility, resilience and innovation. Nurseries and early years settings are pursuing buy and build strategies, and investing in moving beyond purely traditional childcare and hours to offer additional facilities, and maximise on previously underutilised space and time. In this session, we’ll hear from Ben Barbanel, Head of Debt Finance at OakNorth Bank, who’s worked with a number of operators in this space to help them pursue their growth ambitions.

12.05 - 12.50


Panel session on the Level 5 Early Years Lead Practitioner Apprenticeship with the early years trailblazer group; plus the Graduate Practitioner Competencies.

  • Gill Mason, head of training and development, Kids Planet
  • Dr Tanya Richardson, programme leader for early childhood studies, University of Northampton
  • Diana Lawton, managing director, Our Monkey Club
  • Karen Richards, director, Wolds Childcare

12.50 - 13.50

Lunch: good food and networking

13.50 - 14.20

Making well-being a priority

Looking after the mental and physical health of nursery staff, children and families is vital – even more so in such challenging times. Find out about Kindred’s Healthy Steps Initiative, which was highly commended in the Nursery World Awards 2021.

Ruth Pimentel, chief executive and Annie Tierney, head of operations, Kindred Nurseries

14.20 - 15.00

Navigating the market

The Old Station Nursery Group has expanded through the pandemic after its 2019 acquisition by international operator La Maison Bleue. OSNG’s Sarah Steel gives her perspective on the market, while Fatima Essoufi of La Maison Bleue takes an international view.

Sarah Steel, CEO of Old Station Nursery Group and chair of the NDNA, Fatima Essoufi, head of M&A for La Maison Bleue & Claire SephtonChief Operations Officer for The Old Station Nursery Group

15.00 - 15.20

Break: your chance to network and view our exhibition of leading early years suppliers

15.20 - 16.00

How consumer demographics can inform your growth strategy

Following its very popular session at the 2021 Summit, the CACI team will explore the latest data and analysis to support nursery operator consumer engagement and estate strategy. The session will focus on identifying target locations and exploring changing consumer requirements in a post-pandemic market.

Arabella Dalloz, managing consultant – head of leisure, and Paul Langston, associate partner, CACI

16.00 - 16.30

Time to go green

Top tips for developing nurseries with a sustainable ethos from London Early Years Foundation’s Green LEYF approach, which is being adopted across its 40-plus settings. 

June O’Sullivan, chief executive, and Nick Corlett, sustainability lead, at LEYF

16.30 - 16.55

Equality and diversity

Action points for supporting anti-racist practice in your nursery.

Liz Pemberton, early years consultant and trainer, and director of The Black Nursery Manager


End of conference (and a glass of wine)