Speakers & Workshops
Our Patron, Neil Griffiths will be opening the conference and spending the morning with us. “Time with Neil is an experience you will never forget!”
More about Neil
Neil Griffiths was a Primary School headteacher for 13 years before taking on the role of director of a National Literacy Support Project for the Basic Skills Agency.
He came up with and developed Storysacks, promoting them to schools and communities throughout the UK. Many publishers and institutions have asked Neil to contribute his wealth of experience to their projects over the years. He has created award-winning play resources, written a nursery curriculum, a best-selling resource book on creative play, and imaginative material for the Early Learning Centre. Neil also finds time to write his own children’s picture books.
Headteacher: Brougham Street Nursery School and Childcare
I have a deep commitment to high quality education and care and believe that this sets the attitudes and dispositions needed for lifelong learning. The experiences that young children have at nursery will influence the rest of their lives.
More about Michael
I began my career working for Hammersmith and Fulham social services in 1989 as an unqualified nursery assistant. I qualified as a teacher in 1992 and have taught through the Primary phase, specialising in the Early Years. I have also worked in two Early Years Centres as a Deputy and SENCO, been a Local Authority Advisor and Area SENCO and was the Head at Randolph Beresford Early Years Centre in London for ten years. I relocated to North Yorkshire in September 2015 and became the Headteacher of Brougham Street Nursery School in Skipton.
The change from inner city London to semi-rural North Yorkshire has been an eye opener and I have realised how much I still have to learn. I have a greater teaching commitment than in my previous role and I struggle daily with the requirements placed on a small school and how little time there is in a day. It has shown me that to spend time with children is a privilege and we have to find a way of not becoming ground-down by the constant accountability that comes from those who often aren’t doing the day-job. I write a monthly column in Nursery World that allows me to vent my general horror as to the current state of Early Years policy.
Workshop: Online Resilience
Safeguarding young people online at times can be a real challenge, due to the ever changing nature of technology.
This interactive workshop will cover where young people are going online and why, how do we challenge online behaviours, why and where are children and young people taking risks online and most importantly how can we build a child’s digital resilience. We will also explore managing online risk and why it is so important not to remove or block technology, games, and apps and rely on parental controls. A lot of discussions will be around how the internet can affect a young person’s wellbeing. You will also leave with a number of great online safety resources.
You do not need to be a computer whizz to participate in this workshop, no one is an expert in the internet as its moving at such a fast pace.
More about Simon
I am hugely passionate about mental health and safeguarding young people in the real world and online world. I feel very lucky to have found a job where I can combine the two.
I talk very openly about my huge struggles with anxiety and it all came to a head in summer 2015, I am completely on the other side of that now in a wonderful way and feel I have been given a wonderful platform to talk about men and mental health, it’s getting better but still lots of work needs to be done. Embedded in my work with professionals and young people is empathy and how powerful empathy is when working with young people especially vulnerable young people. I want every child I work with to use the internet positively and safely.
Outside of work I love keeping fit and that’s what I do to de stress from spin, to yoga to weight training. I am also a proud uncle to an energetic 2 year old and a smiley 8 month year old. Happiest with family, friends and sitting in the sun in my garden.
Workshop: Mindfulness for children
This workshop will begin by introducing and defining mindfulness, challenging the misconceptions and exploring the different approaches; the latest research will be explored and through this the potential benefits for children and adults.
There will be an opportunity for delegates to take part in a short mindfulness session and then a range of practical and fun activities for using mindfulness with children will be explored. During the session, delegates will have the opportunity to explore how simple mindfulness skills can be introduced to children of all ages from pre-school upwards even when time is limited.
More about Chris
Chris has worked as a teacher, lecturer and leader in education for nearly two decades. He was introduced to meditation at a challenging time in his life, when his wife and mother of their two young children became seriously ill. Having seen the enormous difference that meditation had made to his own life, Chris became interested in developing a programme that introduced families and children to meditation in a way that was simple and easy to access. ThoughtBubbles began life as an action research project and the basis for Chris’ Masters in Education and has since become an audio programme.
ThoughtBubbles is designed to provide a gentle introduction to meditation that promotes calm and relaxation. A regular speaker at conferences, Chris also blogs about the subject and has recently taken part in a podcast about meditation for children and families.
A passionate runner and sports fan, Chris lives with his wife, two children and two dogs in the West Midlands.
Workshop: Supporting children’s toilet training to be ready to learn at school
The workshop will enable delegates to:
- Understand more about how bowels and bladders work.
- Become more confident in supporting families with a structured approach to potty and toilet training.
- Know how much a child should be drinking, how often they should go for a wee and what a healthy poo looks like
- Understand how to support children with toilet training who have additional needs.
More about Sharon
Sharon is a Paediatric Bowel and Bladder Specialist.
ERIC is the only charity dedicated to the bowel and bladder health of all children and teenagers in the UK. We provide expert support, information and understanding to children and teenagers and enable parents, carers and professionals to help them establish good bowel and bladder health.
Workshop: Emotionally Ready for School - building confidence for happy transitions
Understand some of the key readiness skills for children to be secure, happy and successful as they transition into a school environment, not just with separation and coping with new experiences, but being ready for new routines, friendships and for new challenges to attention, resilience and persistence in independence skills. Look at the brain development that helps children reach the point of readiness in their preschool years, find out some ways to measure where your child is to help you plan for their next steps, and most importantly - lots of fun, practical EY play and activities you can provide to help this learning.
More about Ellie
Ellie has a B.Ed (Hons) in Lower Primary Education (3-7 years) and a M.Ed in Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties, both from Birmingham University School of Education. Her first seven years of teaching experience were spent within special schools, working with children with a range of severe to profound learning difficulties working within the earliest stages of development, including specialist teaching approaches for children with multi sensory impairment and setting up and running a class for children with Autistic Spectrum Disorder and Severe Learning Difficulties.
She spent the next nine years working as a county advisory teacher in Northamptonshire for early years SEN with families and a wide range of schools and early years settings, including providing training, consultation and advice, assessment and joint work with the community health teams, and the Northampton Child Development Centre. As an Independent Consultant delivering training nationally to schools, early years settings, charities and parent groups, as well as working directly with children with a wide range of needs, she is continuing to enthusiastically develop her knowledge and training in how difficulties in the early stages of development can affect learning and achievement long term, and what strategies best enable children to regain this vital ground.
On the day Exhibition and Market place
A great selection of information stands and stalls with some amazing bargains. Confirmed stallholders are:
- Pen Green
- Child's Play
- Never Never Land
- Commotion Toys
- Morton Michel
- Books for Education
- Capture Education