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Our Early Years Team

More information about the Early Years Team who are working to support children in Oxfordshire.

Early Years Team

The Early Years Team's is made up of dedicated early years professionals from a wide range of backgrounds and experiences.

These experiences are used to support the county council with its aim to improve the outcomes for young people by ensuring they all have access to high quality early education and care. You can find out more about our support offer.

The team

Alison Base

Lead Early Years Advisory Teacher

Alison joined the team following 25 years’ experience of working in the Early Years in Oxfordshire schools as Foundation Stage Co-ordinator and Senior School Lead. Alison has been involved in the designing of indoor and outside learning environments in a new Early Years Unit and has supported others in developing high quality learning environments on limited budgets. Alison has a keen interest in assessment and outdoor education.

Alison has held a number of roles as an Early Years Partnership Worker, Advisory Teacher, Advanced Skills Teacher, Lead Teacher and Early Years Profile Moderator. She is studying for a Master’s in Education and also holds a part time post leading the Early Years in a local Multi Academy Trust. Alison is co-ordinating the Leaders of Early Learning Initiative across all Early Years sectors in the county.

Amanda Bruce

Lead Early Years Advisory Teacher

Amanda has over 20 years’ experience of working in the Early Years sector. She has taught in maintained schools in nursery, reception and Y1 in Oxfordshire, and has previously worked as an Advisory Teacher in the city and a Lead Teacher. She recently returned to the advisory team from her post as Early Years Co-ordinator in a primary school. She is passionate about working with vulnerable groups and developing positive partnerships with parents. Amanda has delivered training on many aspects of the EYFS including early language, phonics, literacy and motivating boys.

Heather Clarke

Lead Early Years Advisory Teacher (Central)

Heather has over 20 years’ experience of working in the Early Years sector. She has taught in maintained schools in Nursery, Reception and Y1 in Sheffield and Inner City London. She has worked in Oxfordshire as an Early Years Advisory Teacher for over 10 years. During this time she has worked closely with schools and settings, helping them to develop high quality learning environments and advising on preparation for Ofsted inspections.

As a trainer, Heather has delivered training on many aspects of the EYFS including Key Person, Observation, Assessment and Planning and Maths.

Julie Edwards

Early Years Lead Officer (Traded Services)

Julie has worked in early education and childcare for over 15 years. In her current role(s) she offers advice and information to schools and settings on workforce issues, works with pre-schools and nurseries to get to good and is a member of the Early Years Business Unit, developing our traded offer.

Julie is a trainer for the Oxfordshire Safeguarding Children Board, delivering generalist courses and supporting the safeguarding team with safer recruitment training.

Jane Evans

Early Years Advisory Teacher

Jane has recently come from six years as the EYFS co-ordinator at a school judged to be outstanding by Ofsted. She has also previously worked in a local pre-school and a day nursery as well as KS1 and KS2.

Jane has experience of all aspects of EYFS practice in school, including observation, assessment, planning, tracking, data and developing a team. She supports with the development of a well organised enabling environment inside and out, to support children’s creative and problem solving skills. With particular focus on open ended resources and experiences, including a Forest School ethos outside. Jane also supports the use of innovating systems to support children reflecting on their own learning which promotes self-motivation for them to make good and better progress.

Ali Hawkins

Early Years Advisory Teacher

Ali has worked in early education for over 20 years as a teacher in nursery and reception classes, and as an experienced advisor/trainer supporting primary schools, pre-schools and private nurseries. She has management experience within a staff team and has recent teaching experience.

Ali has provided training on a range of early years subjects including The Key Person Approach, Children’s Transitions and Mathematical Development.

Ali specialises in supporting self-evaluative processes and action planning, and is trained to conduct ECERS/ITERS audits.

Michelle Jenkins

Early Years Leader

Michelle has worked in education for 24 years, as a teacher (has taught all primary year groups) and as an Advanced Skills Teacher specialising in literacy in the EY, KS1 and KS2. She has also been a Headteacher of a primary and nursery school. Michelle is passionate about the importance of assessment and how it can be used to support learning and development in the early years. She is an accredited Moderator and leads the LA statutory moderation for EYFSP.

Paula Lochrie

Early Years Lead Officer

Paula has worked in early education and childcare for over 20 years. Prior to her role within in the Early Years team Paula has worked as a childminder, special educational needs (SEN) nursery nurse, childcare co-ordinator and managed the Community Childcare and Play Team in the South.

In her current role Paula is lead officer for vulnerable learners and works to raising quality and standards within all Early Years provision, including childminders. She gives support prior to Ofsted inspections, advises on learning and development, welfare requirements, training, quality assurance, business support, and creating new childcare places.

Paula is a skilled trainer who has a focus on safeguarding and supporting vulnerable learners.

Chris Malone

Strategic Lead, Education Quality

Chris has led a wide range of local authority teams including commissioning 0-19 (health, social care and education) and SEN. She has managed voluntary pre-schools and school Foundation Stage departments. She taught across the primary age range for ten years and was a successful primary school headteacher. Chris worked for Ofsted as an HMI inspecting schools, and for Tribal as an early years inspector.

With post-graduate diplomas in Management and in Effective Early Learning, Chris’s specialisms include strategic management, leadership through change and evaluating quality. She is a Trustee for the Centre for Research in Early Childhood.

Georgina Newbould

Early Years Lead Officer (Childminding)

Georgina is an experienced team manager who has worked in senior roles in children’s centres, childcare and in local authority teams. She holds qualifications in Early Years, Playwork, and in Adult Learning. With a Post-Graduate Certificate in Leadership and Management, she has recently completed a Master’s Degree in this subject.

With a particular interest in supporting the childminding sector, Georgina currently leads local authority strategy for childminders including for pre-registration, support visits and developing local networks. She also supports pre-schools, nurseries, and out of school clubs and is very experienced in supporting providers with sustainability and business planning.

Jill Nicoll

Early Years Advisory Teacher

Jill has worked within the Foundation stage for over 30 years, with roles in most aspects of childcare and education (Childminding, Pre-schools, Nurseries, and  has also had experience Teaching in Schools and Children’s Centres). She is trained to deliver Ofsted inspections and ITERS/ECERS audits.

Jill is passionate about helping providers to deliver the best care and education for all children. She has a strong interest in Assessment and Early Years Maths.

Merryn Polley

Early Years Advisory Teacher

Merryn is an experienced teacher who has recently joined the team from a school judged as outstanding by Ofsted. As EYFS co-ordinator Merryn was valued as a leader in nurturing all colleagues to develop the skills needed in order for children to make good progress.

Merryn specialises in supporting Schools and settings to: maximise the opportunities for learning outside - particularly role play leading to writing; accelerating progress, including strategies to ‘narrow the gap;’ and engaging phonics sessions.

Vanessa Sibley

Lead Early Years Advisory Teacher for vulnerable settings

Vanessa has worked in Early Years education for over fifteen years.  She has taught in several primary schools in both Kent and Oxfordshire and led a team of staff as KS1 and EYFS Leader.  Vanessa was initially seconded as an EYFS Profile Moderator prior to taking on a permanent position within the Early Years Team.  She now takes the lead for Vulnerable Settings across Oxfordshire, supporting day nurseries, preschool and playgroups in raising quality and standards.  Vanessa is passionate about supporting schools and settings to reach their full potential and particularly enjoys providing support to improve the learning environment.

Vanessa has completed Ofsted inspector training with Tribal and is an experienced trainer who has led courses on a wide range of topics including observation, assessment and planning and Leadership and Management in the Early Years.

Last reviewed
03 February 2017
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