Participants from around the UK attended the Herts for Learning (HfL) online national Early Years conference on Wednesday 2nd March 2022. Feedback from the event has been overwhelmingly positive after a very powerful and inspirational day and recordings of the event are now available to buy.

Child development: Taking a fresh look at the curriculum

The event focussed on what constitutes an effective curriculum in the EYFS and the essential need to keep child development at its core, and especially in light of the impact the pandemic has had on our under 5s. 

With the pandemic impacting marginalised and disadvantaged families disproportionally, delegates were also able to develop a greater understanding of common inhibitors to children’s development and deepen their awareness of the cognitive and social aspects of play. 

“I found many of the speakers inspiring and look forward to going back to our curriculum and tweaking parts so it is the best it can be for our children. I found the Ofsted section especially useful.”
Nicky George, Nascot Wood Infants’ & Nursery School, Watford.

“Greg Bottrill was amazing, he inspired me and actually made me emotional. I am making changes to my practice immediately. The Ofsted talk was very helpful and really calmed my nerves. I was able to nod along and feel confident.”
Charlotte Bevan, Featherstone Wood Primary School, Stevenage.

“June O’Sullivan particularly inspiring- reminded me of why I got into education and a strong advocate for all children receiving quality early education. Really wonderful- I could listen to her speak all day!”
Kate Emery, Albury CE VA Primary School, Ware.

“I found today very inspiring and informative. June O’Sullivan who started the day, was exceptionally motivating her passion for our role was overwhelming. I feel a new sense of pride in my role which was maybe dwindling before. She needs her own show!” Chloe O’Keeffe, Teddies Tots Nursery.

Delegates were able to hear some of the country’s leading Early Years specialists give keynotes, take part in a Q & As and then take part in a wide range of workshops in the afternoon. The keynote speakers included:

  • June O’Sullivan, MBE, CEO, London Early Years Foundation   
  • Penny Tassoni, MBE, Author and education consultant
  • Greg Bottrill, Author and childhood advocate
  • Wendy Ratcliff, Ofsted HMI focussed on early years inspection policy
  • Phil Minns, Ofsted HMI and specialist adviser for early years and primary education.


Delegates were able to take part in two workshops on the day, but then listen to recordings of all the others on-demand, for another 28 days. The workshop leads were:

  • Penny Tassoni, MBE, Author and education consultant
  • Dr Julian Grenier, Headteacher at Sheringham Nursery School, Director of East London Research School
  • Dr Sinead Rocha, Researcher at the Centre for Neuroscience in Education, University of Cambridge
  • Dr Sally Neaum, Lecturer and Author
  • Shaddai Tembo, Lecturer, Doctoral student, writer for Critical Early Years.
  • Julia Manning-Morton, Early Years Lecturer, Trainer and Author
  • Ben Kingston Hughes, Managing Director of Inspired Children
  • Tamsin Grimmer, Early Years Consultant

Mireille MacRaild, Education Director – Early Years, HfL, was delighted by the feedback from both delegates and speakers saying:

“The sector has been under immense pressure over the past couple of years, so we were delighted to have been able to bring together such a wide range of national speakers who helped to ignite the spark back into many who attended. Many left to focus on adjusting their curriculum provision so it is the best it can possibly be, for a generation of children who have experienced a significant proportion of their young lives in the shadow of the pandemic.”

Recordings of all the sessions are now available to all event participants until Wednesday 30th March 2022 to watch again on-demand again and at their leisure.

Tickets are now also available to anyone one else who would like to gain access to the recordings until Wednesday 30th March 2022 for the reduced cost of £79.

For more information, please visit: hertsforlearning.co.uk/national-early-years-conference