Our NDNA Conference leadership stream is packed with inspiration and ideas for nursery managers and owners. Book for just £25 a ticket to celebrate 25 years of NDNA being a charity!

Leadership Stream Chair: Alpa Patel

Presenter and Reporter at the BBC and ITV


Alpa Patel has over 20 years of experience as a Presenter and Reporter at the BBC and ITV. She has been at the forefront of major national and international stories including the covid19 pandemic and several UK and international elections. She has interviewed a range of World leaders including several UK Prime Ministers and the current UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres In recent years she has had a specialist focus on maternal healthcare and access to affordable childcare. 

Leadership Stream Chair: Alpa Patel

Your speakers include:

David Johnston OBE MP

Minister for Children, Families and Wellbeing


David Johnston was appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Education on 31 August 2023. As Minister for Children, Families and Wellbeing, he has a broad brief covering children’s social care, special educational needs and disabilities, childcare and any cross-Government families policy. 

He was previously Chief Executive of the Social Mobility Foundation, a charity which runs a range of programmes that incorporate mentoring, internships, university application support and skills development to help young people from low-income backgrounds enter universities and professions. He has been the Conservative Member of Parliament for the constituency of Wantage in the county of Oxfordshire since 2019. 

Previous roles include: 

  • Director of Future, a charity which supports organisations working with young people. 
  • Coordinator of the Oxford Access Scheme, which runs residential programmes for 10-to-18-year-olds. 
David Johnston OBE MP

Ashley John-Baptiste

Broadcaster, host, TV presenter, and inspirational speaker


Promoting the positive path

This session will explore:

  • How early years workers can steer vulnerable young children onto a positive path of self-esteem and aspiration.

More about Ashley:

Ashley John-Baptiste is an award-winning broadcaster and TV presenter, making reports & hosting The One Show, Sunday Morning Live and also Morning Live & News. He is also a Senior Reporter for BBC News and was the lead reporter on The Mall for The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, Funeral and Coronation of His Majesty The King. Ashley’s debut book ‘Looked After: A Childhood in Care’ is to be released in June 2024.  

Ashley John-Baptiste

Elliott Rae

Founder of parenting platform MusicFootballFatherhood


Empowering fathers: strategies for engaging dads and fostering lasting connections with their children

This session will explore:

  • How fatherhood has changed over the past few decades and in recent years, expectations and demands of modern family life and why it’s imperative to engage men in their fatherhood role
  • Barriers to fathers being equal and active parents and uncover some of the proven techniques for engaging dads in childcare services. 

More about Elliott: 

Elliott Rae is the founder of the parenting platform MusicFootballFatherhood, called the ‘Mumsnet for Dads’ by the BBC. He is the curator of the bestselling book, DAD, presenter of BBC One documentary ‘Becoming Dad’, co-founder of the Working Dads Employer Awards and creator of the Parenting Out Loud campaign which encourages and working dads to be equal and active parents. Elliott is the ex-Head of DEI Delivery at HM Treasury and one of the UK’s most prominent speakers on fatherhood, mental health and masculinity. His work on gender equality has been recognised by the United Nations and he was awarded the #HeForShe award by UN Women UK.  

Elliott Rae

Gemma Goldenberg

Psychologist, Educator and Co-Founder of Nestkids


Supporting under-twos

This session will explore:

  • Neuroscience of how babies brains differ to toddlers and what this means for practitioners  
  • Early language development and how to support this 
  • How levels of stimulation in the nursery environment impact attention, stress and behaviour – how to read cues of over and under arousal in children who don’t yet talk, and what to do about this 
  • The science behind why outdoor time is vital for development, even for non-walkers.

More about Gemma:

Gemma Goldenberg is a psychologist and education expert with 2 decades of experience working in nursery and school settings. A regular features writer for Early Years Educator and Nursery World magazines, Gemma specialises in the neuroscience of Early Years practice and co-founded www.nestkids.co.uk, an organisation which supports practitioners to use research and neuroscience to inform their work with children. Gemma’s PhD research focussed on the impact of the learning environment on young children’s stress, attention and behaviour and produced groundbreaking new discoveries in this area. 

Gemma Goldenberg

Professor Sally Pearse

Strategic Lead for Early Years, Sheffield Hallam University


Relationship Mapping: a tool to support young children and families and promote reflective practice

This session will explore:

  • How you can use relationship mapping at your nursery as a tool to support young children and families and promote reflective practice.

More about Sally:

Sally is the Strategic Lead for Early Years at Sheffield Hallam University. Since 2017 Sally has led the work with early years colleagues from across South Yorkshire to develop a range of collaborative projects. These have included a £1million project, funded through the DfE Early Outcomes Fund to transform the regions speech, language and communication services and the development of an Early Years Community Research Centre in Sheffield which is now delivering nursery places in an area of social and economic challenge.

Professor Sally Pearse

Tickets only £25!

Book your tickets now!


Yes, you heard it right! To celebrate 25 years of NDNA being a charity, we are thrilled to launch all conference tickets to NDNA members for just £25.

Non-members are still very welcome at NDNA Conference for the full price of NDNA membership. Alternatively, why not sign up to NDNA membership and receive a huge range of member benefits along with a £25 conference ticket?

Leaders and practitioners, we can’t wait to welcome you to our annual flagship event to keep you informed, improve your practice and continue growing together.




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