Starting Right: Give Them Time


It started with a conversation over a WhatsApp group and grew into an Event!

There is a time in everyone's life that we need a little help and helping others in our sector saw this event being born. Everyone involved in this event is providing their services free of charge to raise much needed funds that will be go to charity and support those working in the sector.

This special online conference is being held on Saturday 6th November between 12 noon and 4.30pm

Here is a little about the Keynote speakers and the others involved in this special event. 


Their bios, links and details of their presentations

Give Them Time - Speaker Header

Sue Cowley, Chair
Author, speaker, teacher, trainer, presenter and rattler of cages.
Sue is an experienced teacher, writer and presenter, whose specialisms are in the areas of behaviour management and creative approaches to teaching and learning. After qualifying as a primary school teach she taught in a number of different schools in London and Bristol and worked as a supply teacher at an international school in Portugal Sue still works on a voluntary basis with children in schools to ensure that she keeps up to day with 'life at the chalk face' and has also helped to run her local preschool for the past ten years as chair of the management committee. 

Sue has been a published author for 20 years, and she is the best selling writer of thirty books for teachers and parents, and has also written for numerous educational publications including TES, each Early Years, Teach Primary, Teach Secondary, Nursery World and Early Years Educator. She has produced materials about behaviour management for the Open University / BBC. As well as being a regular presenter on Teachers TV, Sue has developed a series of Positive Behaviour Management DVDs.

Sue’s primary aim through her work is to give practical, realistic and honest advice to teachers and parents. Her books offer a combination of tips, ideas and strategies, written in an easily accessible and amusing way. Through the training courses that she runs, Sue puts across her ideas about teaching and classroom management in a engaging and inspirational way.

Connect with Sue:

Some of Sue's Books - for the full range, please visit her website

Dr Nathan Archer
Post Doctoral Researcher at University of Leeds, Associate Editor Journal of Early Childhood Research
Dr. Nathan Archer is a Researcher at University of Leeds. He has worked in early childhood education for twenty years. A trained early childhood and Primary Montessori teacher, he has worked across the public, private and voluntary sectors both in and with schools and settings, for a local authority, and with several national early years organisations.

Nathan is also an associate lecturer and researcher in Higher Education. He completed a PhD in Early Childhood Education at the University of Sheffield in 2020 on the activism of early childhood educators.

Connect with Nathan:

Further Links:
Childcare During Covid Research Report
Podcast: “Educators, not glorified babysitters” | Blog | Centres and institutes | University of Leeds
Activism, autonomy and identities: Stories from early childhood educators | BERA

Keynote: A Year of Wonders - The Compassion and Resourcefulness of Early Educators in a Pandemic Year.
2020-21 has been a period unlike any other known to us. For those working in early childhood education and care, there have been many challenges physically, mentally and emotionally.

Given the essential role that early years settings play in the lives of children and their families, it is crucial that we start to understand the impact of the pandemic on this provision and on educators. Since last year, the Childcare during Covid project, led by academics at Universities of Leeds and Bristol, has sought:

  • To identify the challenges of the impact of Covid-19 on the EY sector in England and Wales and associated knowledge gaps
  • To rapidly produce large-scale, detailed evidence on the nature of these challenges
  • To generate policy measures and interventions to ensure safe, financially sustainable care and a more resilient future for this vital sector of the economy.

This presentation shares the voices and experiences of a number of early educators who took part in the project and reflects on the hope, compassion and resilience of those working with young children in the most difficult circumstances.

Greg Bottrill
Author, Blogger, Early Years Specialist
A former Early Years Lead and Assistant Headteacher, Greg is passionate about education being an adventure not a pre-drawn route for children. He believes that children need to experience something special within our settings, but also be given time and space to reveal their own understanding and magic. Greg works internationally with settings supporting their own adventures into the world of play and the magic of children.

Greg is a passionate advocate of childhood and the magic of children. He is the author of ‘Can I Go And Play Now?’ and ‘School and the Magic of Children’ as well as the creator of Adventure Island, Drawing Club and the Message Centre. His work is centred around education done with children and not to them.

Keynote: A Teatime Assortment of Joy
Join Greg, passionate advocate of childhood, as he shared a variety of way to add even more magic to your practice. From the Goblin Factory to the Dreamtime Library, Memory Messaging to Cheese and Jam, immerse in the joy of co-play and nonsense that childhood wants and is looking for…

Laura Henry-Allain MBE
Producer, speaker, writer (Creator of the JoJo and Gran Gran characters) and consultant
Laura Henry-Allain MBE is an award-winning international writer, speaker and consultant. She is the creator of the well-loved CBeebies characters JoJo and Gran Gran as well as the series' associate producer. She is also executive producer on a few shows that are currently in development.

She is the vice-president of the British Association for Early Childhood Education, and is an educational consultant for several well-known brands as well as children's media, television and publishing.

Laura's new children's book, My Skin, Your Skin, illustrated by Onyinye Iwu, explores race and racism, and empowers children to be the best versions of themselves. It has recently been published.

Keynote: The Child at the Centre. What does this mean in practice?
Laura will share her reflections on how we can still do more for the children we care for on a day-to-day basis and what really matters. She will discuss what we mean by the key person in action and how we really consider the uniqueness of every child and their family. She will look at how we, indeed, support educators to support children. How are we still making sure that inclusion, diversity and race are at the heart of our practice?

Connect with Laura:

Dr Pam Jarvis
Author, chartered psychologist, historian and researcher
Pam is an author, chartered psychologist, historian, researcher and grandparent. Originally from London, but based in Leeds since 1986, she taught and researched human psychology and child development across community education, schools, colleges and universities between 1994 and 2019, publishing many academic articles, books and chapters, including the best sellers 'Perspectives on Play’ and ‘Early Years Pioneers.’

She is currently researching, writing and contributing to practitioner training initiatives, and has recently published her first novel (with a four year old and a seven year old amongst the main characters!) entitled ‘On Time.’

Keynote: Attachment, Cortisol and Care: love, loss and learning
Pam's presentation will briefly reprise attachment theory, outline its links to neuropsychology and reflect upon how attachment problems create issues for both relationships and learning, with potential lifelong impacts upon both physical and mental health. It draws principally upon:

Jarvis, P. (2020) Attachment theory, Cortisol and Care for the under 3s in the 21st Century: constructing evidence-informed policy. Early Years, An International Journal of Research

Connect with Pam:

Dr Helen J Williams
Independent Educational Consultant
Dr Helen J Williams is an independent educational consultant specialising in the teaching and learning of primary mathematics. Her particular expertise is in Early Years and KS1 and she has a special interest in developing effective playful opportunities for learning mathematics.

She is an active member of both the Early Childhood Mathematics Group (@EChildhoodMaths) and the Association of Teachers of Mathematics (@ATMMathematics)

Helen’s doctoral research was completed with Roehampton University in 2014 and is entitled: “The relevance of role play to the learning of mathematics in the primary classroom”.

Keynote: Early Years Mathematics: What We Know and What We Can Do
Helen will examine some key research into early years’ mathematics and some of the practical implications of this for us as practitioners. This is a fantastic opportunity to connect with Helen and feel her enthusiasm for her subject choice and will include some ideas to takeaway to try out with your children.

Connect with Helen:

Maeve Birdsall and Jasmine Page, Co-op Academy Oakwood

Maeve Birdsall
Assistant Head
The majority of my 36 year long teaching career has been spent in Early Years. Many things have changed in that time but what doesn’t change, is how I marvel at the enormous potential each child has as they walk through our doors.

Every year has a familiar pattern, but at the same time, an exciting newness, which makes my role as educator so rewarding.

I loved the opportunity to work with Jasmine on The Wrinkle People and we are now writing a book about children’s art entitled Rainbow Birds.

Jasmine Priestley
Early Years Teacher
I have been teaching in Early Years for 7 years and every year is as exciting as the last. I am in awe of the innate drive children have to be curious and to challenge themselves in their learning. I see it as my responsibility to provide an interesting environment which reflects their needs and interests, allowing the children to reach their full potential.

I learnt a lot through writing The Wrinkle People and it gave me lots of opportunities to reflect on my practice. We are now working on a book about observational art in collaboration with Maeve and Claire, another teacher in our unit. All the profits from both our publications will go to Age UK and MIND.

Keynote: Sharing with the Child
We will be looking at how we respond to children’s interests and fascinations. We will be giving recent examples of what this looks like in Nursery and in Reception, showing the wonderfully deep learning that comes from this approach.

Connecting with Maeve and Jasmine / Co op Academy Oakwood


Carla Jones and Rachna Joshi were keen to support this conference and the resulting fundraising, but were unable to join us on the day so instead we recorded their presentation, which will be available with the recordings from the day on the EY Matters Online Platform.

Carla Jones
Assistant Head for EYFS and Keystage 1
Carla is a primary school teacher and has been teaching for eight years across the Early Years Foundation Stage and Key Stage One in Islington, London.

This year she has begun working in the role of Assistant Headteacher for the EYFS and KS1.

Carla is passionate about child centred, research based practice improving outcomes for children.

Connect with Carla:

Rachna Joshi
EYFS Teacher, Early Childhood Advocate
Rachna works alongside Carla in the same Primary School in Islington, North London and has been teaching in Early Years since 2014 and in 2020 completed her MA in Early Childhood Studies at Roehampton University.

Rachna is passionate about bringing together theory and practice and is an advocate for the holistic development of the children she works with and their communities.

Connect with Rachna:

Keynote: The Holistic Impact of Physical Play
We (Rachna and I) will present our research into the benefits of introducing rough and tumble play to EYFS classes in our inner London primary school.

We introduced a rough and tumble play intervention to children seeking out this type of play in 2017 and found it to have a significant impact on children’s ability to manage their feelings and behaviour.


Without the support of these two special ladies, the conference just would not have happened ...

Dr Sue Allingham
Independent Early Years Consultant, Trainer & Author
Sue's expertise and passion for teaching and learning in the Early Years started with her classroom experience and Senior Lead role as Early Years Co-ordinator and Lead Teacher for her Local Authority. Moving into research Sue gained an MA followed by a Doctorate, both in Early Years Education from Sheffield University. Her career then developed from being a Lead Teacher to Local Authority Adviser.

These achievements have enabled Sue to consolidate her thinking and practice; her work has a solid grounding in research.

Research also informs the articles she writes regularly for Early Years Educator magazine where she is now the Consultant Editor. Sue has also written two books published by Practical Preschool Publications – Transitions in the Early Years and Emotional Literacy in the Early Years.

Sue founded Early Years Out of the Box in 2015 after a long career in Early Years and has recently updated her website and will shortly launch her bespoke packages for training, which will be a 'Pick & Mix' of recorded sessions and live online sessions in order to ensure that she can provide her quality training to fit all budgets and requirements.

Sue has been an amazing support and partner for EY Matters and has worked closely with me to establish various initiatives such as the Continual Online Conference, BrewEdEYOnline and of late the Early Childhood at the Heart Conferences and prior to the lockdown was a Keynote at our inaugural conference Wellbeing for All in Early Years. Our most recent venture is the Early Years Surgery with Dr Sue, the first one being launched in August 2021 with a live session on the Revised EYFS which is now available as a recording.

Sue has been involved with the planning and organisation of this conference since the original WhatsApp conversation and will be supporting on the day as co-host, sharing information in the chat and posting on Social Media. 

Kym Scott
Early Years Consultant, Trainer and Conference Speaker
Kym provides consultancy, training, workshops and keynote speeches across the UK and overseas on a number of subjects related to early years. She is especially passionate about the impact that positive relationships, quality interactions and play can have on a child's learning and life chances.

Kym started her career working with young children as a nanny and a pre-school assistant in her home county of Norfolk and went on to take teaching and senior leadership roles in London schools, before joining the Lewisham Early Years Advisory team in South London.

During this time she co-wrote a number of publications with my colleagues, including the hugely popular "A Place to Learn', which was frequently described at the time as 'a bible for early years practitioners'. As a result of the book's popularity, Kym and her colleagues were asked to speak at conferences and provide training around the country. She also progressed to become a School Improvement Adviser and then Strategic Lead for Early Years, which in her advisory capacity enabled her to work closely with many schools and early years settings.

Finding herself being asked more and more to speak at events, she made the leap to become a freelance consultant.  For the full range of her services, a visit to her website is highly recommended to view the bespoke training  and consultancy she can offer, but online platform, which many can only hope to aspire to.


Kym has been an invaluable support in the organisation of this event, suggesting and introducing speakers, providing feedback and the benefit of her experience. Thank you Kym

Connect with Kym:


I feel privileged to be working with this inspiring group of people and to be supporting this amazing event. Many may assume that this is an 'EY Matters' event, but it is not - this event is borne out of the conversations, discussions and the love that we all have for the sector and the people in it ..

EY Matters is providing the platform for the ticketing, the social media marketing and I will also be co-host on the day adjudicating the audience ensuring that only authorised people are admitted and also recording the event, then editing to provide just the footage of the presentations to share on our Online Training & Resource Platform so that the content can be shared more widely.

This Event really does demonstrate the EY Matters ethos:

Juls Davies
Founder - EY Matters

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