NDNA Board of Trustees

Our Board of Trustees is ultimately responsible for the good governance of the charity and ensuring that NDNA works to fulfill its mission of promoting quality in early years.

The Board is comprised of 11 member-elected regional and national chairs and a number of co-opted trustees with specific expertise. 

Regional and national chairs chair member forums, represent on NDNA policy committees and inform and advise our policy work. Here, we introduce you to the NDNA Strategic Board.

Sarah Steel – Chair of Trustees

Sarah Steel joined NDNA Board of Trustees as Chair in November 2021. Sarah founded The Old Station Nursery in 2002 when she was looking for high quality childcare for her own small children. Since then the company grew to 10 sites around the UK before she sold it to French company, La Maison Blue. She has remained as CEO of the UK company which now has 36 sites. She joined the NDNA policy committee in 2011 to help to share the concerns and challenges of nursery operators.

Sarah Steel - Chair of Trustees

Dave Poulsom – Treasurer

Dave is a Chartered Accountant who has held a number of senior financial leadership roles in both the private and public sector. Dave is an active trustee and governor for three local disadvantaged children and young people focused charities and special schools. In 2006 Dave was Director of Finance Children’s Workforce Development Council and in 2012 joined the Department for Education acting as senior Finance Business Partner for the Department’s delivery agencies and the Education Funding Agency schools Capital Programme. Dave now works as finance director for Re-Form Heritage a charity specialising in the restoration and rejuvenation of heritage buildings at risk of decay or demolition, transforming these historic buildings into local assets, creating job opportunities and catalysing wider social and economic benefit.

Ann McEwan – Scotland Chair

Ann is a Co-Owner and Director of ABC Early Learning Ltd and has worked in the sector for over 30 years where she has been an active member of NDNA for 25 years. She is committed to the ethos and aims of NDNA believing that all children should enjoy their childhood and have opportunities to fulfil a lifelong love of curiosity and learning.

Ann McEwan - Scotland Chair

Tina Jones MBE – Wales Chair

Tina has been managing director of her own nursery for many years and has supported the growth of NDNA Cymru to develop strong relationships with the Welsh Government and CSSIW.

Tina Jones MBE - Wales Chair

Regional chairs

Hazel Moody – Regional Chair for the South East

Hazel believes strongly that all members share common problems and issues as they work to deliver the best care for young children, and she is keen to share her knowledge and experience in this area.

Hazel Moody - Regional Chair for the South East

Helen Gration – Regional Chair for Yorkshire and the Humber

Helen is a passionate and committed owner of four thriving Montessori nurseries in York and Leeds. Her desire for excellence and for the voice of the child to be heard are powerful motivators.

Helen Gration - Regional Chair for Yorkshire and the Humber

Laura Bowery – Regional Chair for the North East

Laura has been involved in the education sector for nearly 20 years, moving from secondary school teaching, to being a joint owner and director of her own private day nursery.

Laura Bowery - Regional Chair for the North East

Penny Vaughan-Pipe – Regional Chair for the South West

Penny is active within national and local organisations and plays an active role in her local Chamber. She also represents NDNA members at local partnership meetings.

Penny Vaughan-Pipe - Regional Chair for the South West

Tracey Storey – Regional Chair for London

Tracey aspires to provide outstanding childcare for all children and families. Tracey is committed to also providing the very best environment and benefits for her staff team, including an extensive training and development programme and an excellent salary and benefits package. Tracey has a passion for the outdoors and has great belief in the forest school curriculum and its benefits for both children and staff.  As a trustee, Tracey supports the extensive and valuable work the NDNA does to support their members.

Tracey Storey - Regional Chair for London

Philip Siddell – Regional chair for West Midlands

Passionate about defending the right of private day nurseries to run their own businesses in a sustainable and profitable way, Philip is keen to share successful pricing policies operating within Government Guidelines, yet using the possibilities of the legislation to the full, including what is left unsaid! He is co-owner of Humpty Dumpty Day Nurseries Ltd, founded by his wife Carol in 1987 and comprising 4 Nurseries and 7 Before and After School Clubs in the West Midlands.

Philip Siddell - Regional chair for West Midlands

Sally Bonnar – Regional Chair for East Midlands

Sally is a passionate advocate of the importance of early years education and as the Chief Operating Officer of the large provider, Coop Childcare and Little Pioneers she always has the children and families at the heart of her decision making. Sally has an ambition to be a different type of community based provider, that is truly a member empowered service with a big difference. Sally’s dedication to making a difference embodies the NDNA’s ethos of being the people behind the people who care and champion the best for our children.

Sally Bonnar - Regional Chair for East Midlands

Co-opted trustees

Courteney Donaldson

As Managing Director of Childcare & Education Sectors at Christie & Co, Courteney has a vast range of expertise in the childcare and education sectors. Courteney has specialised in the nursery sector since 1999, providing valuation, transactional and consultative advice to operators, banks and investors.  Working with owners of single settings, regional and national nursery groups across the UK and internationally, Courteney has a unique insight into current trends across the global childcare markets, including levels of demand and sustainability. While Courteney is regarded as the ‘go-to’ authority for business property-related matters in the nursery sector, Courteney also advises on other child-centric businesses including independent schools, SEN residential and day schools, children’s homes and foster care businesses.

Courteney Donaldson

David Smyllie

David qualified as a practicing solicitor in 1985. After several years as a partner in one of the national law firms, he joined Lupton Fawcett LLP, Solicitors, Leeds in July 2006 as a Director and Member. He is Head of the firm’s Business Recovery & Insolvency Department. David has, for many years, been widely recognised as a leading business recovery and insolvency lawyer with particular focus on advising financially distressed companies and directors and trustees of charities on their duties and responsibilities when faced with financial under performance, distress or insolvency.

Jane Haywood MBE

Jane has significant leadership experience in the public and voluntary sector. She has substantial expertise in workforce development, including in the early years and social care, safeguarding and governance. Jane is an active volunteer and has a particular interest in youth work, play and learning disability. She is proud of the role NDNA plays in being the voice of the early year’s sector and her role on the NDNA board allows her to continue her commitment to ensuring that the early years workforce receives the recognition, reward and support it deserves.

Jane Haywood MBE

Lesley Dawson

Lesley has served with the NDNA board for 20+ years.  She operates a family group of nurseries and out of school clubs in Leeds though is a keen advocate for single site nurseries.  She is passionate about early years excellence and education.  Lesley’s family also have a children’s education charity in Malawi.

Lesley Dawson