Ofsted has appointed a range of experts and professionals from universities, schools and pre-schools, to join its new Early Years Pedagogy and Practice Forum.

The 22 experts were selected from more than 1,400 applicants, after Ofsted announced in August that the forum was to be established.

When they meet for the first time next month, members will talk about early years research and practice, and consider, for example, how young children get a love of reading, learn about numbers and develop their physical skills. The forum will also help to shape Ofsted’s research programme.

Gill Jones, Ofsted Deputy Director for Early Education, will lead the forum with HM Inspector Phil Minns, who is Ofsted’s specialist adviser on the early years and primary school, and Head of Research Professor Daniel Muijs.

Gill Jones said:

I am delighted so many people expressed an interest in attending this forum; it shows that there is a real appetite for in-depth discussion about the early years. Unfortunately, we couldn’t ask everyone who applied to join the forum, but we are exploring ways that more people can get involved in the discussion online. We will be saying more about this in the New Year, when the forum will look at the teaching and inspection of physical development, early literacy and maths.

Forum members

The 22 members of the forum are as follows:

Nurseries and pre-schools

  • Alice Baillie-Bennett, Wray Pre-School and Forest School
  • Deena Billings, Busy Bees Nurseries
  • Jan Davies, Prenton Penguins Nursery

Nursery schools and schools

  • Sally Cave, Guildford Nursery School and Children’s Centre
  • Sallie Dodd, South Pennine Academies in Huddersfield
  • Dr Julian Grenier, Sheringham Nursery School and Children’s Centre
  • Ben Smith, St Peter and St Paul Catholic Primary School
  • Trudy Spillane, Drapers’ Maylands Primary School
  • Natalie Willcock, Candleby Lane Primary School


  • Emma Bailie, University Centre Grimsby
  • James Hall, Southampton University
  • Professor Kathy Sylva, Oxford University

Local authorities

  • Joy Barter, Barking and Dagenham Council
  • Vanessa Foster, North Tyneside Council


  • Ann Langston
  • Lala Manners
  • Lisa Seymour

From other organisations

  • Charlotte Lynch, Save the Children
  • Sarah Mackenzie, Childbase Partnership
  • Christine Rogers, Pre-School Learning Alliance
  • Penny Tassoni, Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years
  • Penny Taylor, Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust

Ofsted will be inviting a wider group of experts to inform the forum’s discussions when it considers specific curriculum issues, such as maths or physical development. This is to make sure that Ofsted brings together subject-specific expertise when necessary.

Membership of the forum is voluntary and unpaid.

Early next year Ofsted will be inviting those who applied but are not on the forum to use webinars and different online platforms to include them in wide-ranging debates on important early years pedagogy and practice issues.

Published 12 December 2018

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