Leslie Patterson


Finding the Magic in the Early Years

Bishop Auckland, England - North East


Leslie believes that all children are competent and capable learners, given the right environment.

She is committed to supporting the development of a knowledgeable, reflective and skilled workforce for children in all types of early years settings. She believes deeply in life-long learning and acknowledges that her own knowledge and ability to improve practice has come from the excitement of discovering alternative possibilities and evaluating how to use new ideas effectively. She has gained a great deal from reading, discussion, sharing of practice, studying and observing other institutions both locally and internationally. She is a qualified teacher with a Masters degree in Education.

Leslie has more than 30 years of teaching experience in Primary, Infant and Nursery Schools. Over 10 years of this was as a Headteacher of a maintained Nursery School which she led from Satisfactory to Outstanding by focusing on improving teaching and learning.

Leslie became a National Leader of Education and her Nursery School became a lead school of a teaching school alliance. This led to her becoming more widely involved in professional development, supporting struggling schools and settings, and initial teacher training.
She now works as an independent consultant and as an associate consultant for Early Education, specialising in Early Years.

Business Information

Finding the Magic in the Early Years is the consultancy business of Leslie Patterson.

Leslie works with schools, early years settings, families and businesses. She can be booked to work with individuals, small teams or larger groups. She can design bespoke packages for specific situations.

The training, support and advice offered is based on:

  • many years of experience, both teaching and leading in the Early Years;
  • working in partnership with and learning from a wide range of other professionals;
  • her own continuous professional development;
  • reading to keep up to date with current requirements and research.

Her work is motivated by her desire to see excellent outcomes for all children and to unlock their capacity to become powerful, lifelong learners.

Services Provided

For Early Years Settings:
Drawing on years of experience in developing her own setting and supporting others to develop theirs, Leslie can be booked to work with early years leaders and practitioners to improve the quality of their provision.

Areas for improvement will be identified through observing and analysing the learning environment, staff competence and curriculum delivery. This can be offered as a one-day visit or developed through a longer package of consultancy. The packages and support will be tailored to meet the specific needs of the institution requesting consultancy.

Leslie is able to audit provision and prepare a report with recommendations for improvements and development opportunities.

Leslie offers training courses for individual or groups of settings. These can be developed around specific themes of interest on request.

For business:
Leslie can be booked to work with leadership teams as a facilitator, helping them to reflect upon how policies and practices can support employees with caring responsibilities for young children. She will use her years of experience in working with children and families to heighten awareness of the issues faced in managing work and family life.

Leslie can come to you workplace and deliver workshops for employees which will focus on the positive aspects of being a working parent and give advice on how to support their children in order for them to thrive.

For families:
Leslie can work with parent and family groups on issues around understanding and recognising what contributes to a child becoming a strong lifelong learner. She can offer training courses about raising strong, effective learners, and on how to capture and celebrate the successes of young children. She can be booked by groups to talk about specific learning issues.

Leslie is able to work with the families of individual children to help them to celebrate their child’s success as a learner and to raise their confidence as important educators in their child’s early years.

This can be done by:

  • looking together at strategies which support children to become effective learners;
  • explaining the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum and helping families to see what it may look like in practice;
  •  bespoke consultation discussing issues important to the family;
  •  exploring how to record a journal of a child’s early childhood experiences and progress.



I lead the school improvement team for Durham County Council, which is a partner organisation to the Durham Teaching School Alliance where Leslie was a strategic lead. In that capacity I have had close working relationships with Leslie since 2016, sitting on the Partnership Board of that organisation, and supporting a range of events. Prior to that, and since, I had direct working relations with Leslie as she was a leading Nursery School head teacher in Durham local authority, a key contributor to nursery head teacher network meetings, and leader of an outstanding provision. Since making her decision to work as an independent consultatnt, Durham local authority has engaged her to work with us on different projects, including support to school leadership and contributing to the appointment process of school improvement advisers. Both as head teacher and as co-ordinator of the DTSA Teaching School, Leslie demonstrated her substantial, current and up-to-date knowledge of effective early childhood education practice and pedagogy. She can lead, plan and contribute to effective training, with a good grasp of adult facilitation skills; she can write and reflect effectively on what makes good practice in the early childhood context. I would recommend Leslie without reservation as an astute, considerate, patient and very well-informed educational practitioner, who is capable of self-reflection, responds well to critical feedback and works with the best interests of schools, children and young people at heart. Leslie has a very strong grasp of education improvement priorities and has worked in schools and settings in support of senior leaders on behalf of Durham’s Education Development Service. She attends to her own professional development needs and is a self-starter in terms of initiative and project management. She has a very good knowledge of current developments in teaching and learning. Leslie is both enthusiastic and empathic – she builds excellent relationships with adults and children, employing a mix of good humour and authentic concern, as well as an insightful evaluation of individuals’ needs and situations. She works hard and is resilient, and would develop fast and effective working relationships with colleagues in a training situation, as has been evidenced in roles that she has fulfilled in partnership with this organisation.

Phil Hodgson Strategic Manager Professional Support and Development Education Durham Children and Young People’s Services Durham County Council

In my capacity as a Headteacher, a Governor of her Nursery School and as Chair of Bishop Auckland Headteachers’ Cluster of Schools I have had the privilege of working with Leslie. She has led the school with care, commitment and enthusiasm. She is an inspirational practitioner who works with joy and creativity. The children become confident and inquisitive, able to work as individuals and to cooperate and contribute within a group. Her work on aspects of play has had a wonderful effect on children who develop the skills of curiosity and concentration. It is a delight to see how children are engaged and challenged through the philosophy that underpins all her interactions throughout the school. Her contribution in enabling the Nursery to develop into a place of outstanding quality is immense. It is a place where each child is important, where learning takes place in a fun and exciting way, and where each member of staff feels that they contribute to offering each child the best possible provision. Progress is amazing in all aspects of school life and children leave well prepared for their new school journeys. Leslie is totally committed to developing a world of Early Years education where children are offered a rich variety of experiences, where each child is valued as an individual and where a joy of learning is fostered which children can carry with them throughout their lives.

Retired Headteacher and Primary Consultant

Leslie is an inspirational teacher and leader with a passion for helping both children and adults to aspire to become the best version of themselves. I have worked with Leslie on a number of occasions running joint courses and in service training. Without exception these courses have been very well received with outstanding feedback. I would recommend Leslie without reservation.

Dr Tom Robson, Education Consultant, Director of TREDU


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