Early Excellence

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Our Senior Team

Meeting people, sharing ideas and forming partnerships is how we work at Early Excellence – and here are some of the people you will meet as you explore working with us. 

Our National Development Managers lead on strategic developments in EYFS and KS1, whilst our Regional Development Managers focus on facilitating training for local clusters, teaching schools and academy trusts across England. They are supported by our Centre Manager and a team of highly experienced Early Years Improvement Advisors and KS1 Consultants who lead all of our training and development services.

We are uniquely placed to become an effective partner in driving forward innovation and offer specialist advice and strategic support to help you achieve your vision. So, if developing early years or rethinking KS1 is one of your priorities, do get in touch, we’d be delighted to support you.

School Improvement Advisors

Liz Marsden

Founder & CEO
Liz Marsden is the Founder and CEO of Early Excellence. She is an inspirational leader who cares deeply about the quality of young children’s education. Prior to establishing Early Excellence, Liz worked as a teacher in Early Years and KS1 and held senior roles as Deputy, Headteacher, LA Advisor and Inspector. Having led Early Excellence since its inception in 1998, Liz has become a highly respected CEO, being a strong, determined and focused leader. She is a strategist at heart who oversees the direction of travel but with a formidable eye for detail, Liz also ensures that everything Early Excellence does is of the highest quality.

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Phil Armstrong

Head of Regional Development
South, East & International

Phil is our Head of Regional Development - The South & East of England as well as leading on our work with British International Schools. He is a member of the Strategic Leadership Team who shape the work of EEX. Previously Phil has worked for over 20yrs across the early years and primary sector, including teacher, leader and headship positions. Phil was also the Head of an integrated early years centre. With a passion for collaborative practice and professional development; Phil has worked in partnership with early years settings, schools, teaching schools and local authorities to develop and deliver personalised programmes to meet their needs.

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Nikki Walters

Head of Regional Development
North, Scotland & Wales

Nikki is our Head of Regional Development – North, Scotland & Wales. She is a member of the Strategic Leadership Team who shape the work of EEX. Nikki brings with her over 20yrs experience of supporting school improvement, helping to develop quality EYFS & KS1 practice in schools. Previously Nikki taught for 10yrs in both the EYFS & KS1 and worked for Leicestershire County Council as a Senior Improvement Advisor providing support and challenge to childminders, settings and schools. She also led the Early Learning and Childcare Service where she worked strategically to support leaders and managers in Teaching Schools and Multi-Academy Trusts.

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Sarah Carey

Head of Regional Development
Midlands & East

Sarah is our Head of Regional Development – East and West Midlands and is a member of the EEx Strategic Leadership Team. Sarah brings over 20yrs experience in school improvement having been an EYFS Leader, Assistant Head, Deputy Head and Headteacher. She places high-value on quality CPD, collaboration and support and is a highly-experienced at strategic planning for sustained school improvements. During her successful career, Sarah held many leadership posts in a wide range of subjects including Literacy and Maths and, as an Infant School Head for 7yrs, she led sustained development of teaching and learning, pedagogy and provision achieving significant improvements in outcomes.

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Nova Robinson

Curriculum Consultant & KS1 Trainer
Nova has an extensive career of 25 years teaching in primary schools. She has taught children from YR to Y6 with roles including Deputy Head and Assistant Head holding responsibility for EYFS and KS1. Her expertise lies in developing a broad and balanced curriculum supported by an effective learning environment that enables children to acquire and apply knowledge through independent work and enquiry and is passionate about involving children in their own learning. Nova is an experienced in peer to peer support and delivers KS1 CPD and training.

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Maria Moon

Curriculum Consultant & EYFS Trainer
Maria has worked in Early Years for over 20 years, most recently as a Deputy Headteacher and EYFS Lead. She has also worked for the Cambridgeshire Local Authority Advisory Team, as an EYFS Moderator, a College Lecturer, a Pre-school Learning Alliance Advisor, and worked across Day Nurseries in management roles and owned her own pre-school business. As a qualified Forest School Level 3 Practitioner Maria has written and delivered a wide range of EYFS training and helped set up a Cambridgeshire Forest School Network.

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Matthew Sayer

Curriculum Consultant & EYFS Trainer
Matthew has worked in early education for 16 years. He has taught and led the Early Years Foundation Stage in school reception classes and nurseries and has lectured in Early Years at Canterbury Christchurch University. Most recently he has worked as an Early Years Adviser with Kent County Council, developing and delivering training and providing advice, support and challenge to local settings and schools.

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Andy Burt

Curriculum Consultant & EYFS Trainer
Andy Burt is an experienced EYFS Teacher and School Leader who has explored open-ended, creative and innovative approaches to learning over a number of years. Research done in collaboration with Professor Pat Broadhead, focusing on Andy’s work, led to the exploration of ‘the whatever you want it to be place’ and the co-written text Understanding Young Children’s Learning through Play which was published by Routledge in 2011.

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Ruth Swailes

National Leadership Consultant
Ruth is an experienced senior leader. She has a wealth of experience in primary education with over 20 years’ experience in senior leadership roles including primary headship. Ruth has worked as a School Improvement Advisor, Early Years Consultant and moderator in several Local Authorities; supporting leaders and teachers to improve outcomes for pupils. Ruth is passionate about Early Years, having taught Nursery, YR and KS1. She is also a trained Ofsted inspector.

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Lynda Trueman

Associate Leadership Consultant
Lynda is a highly experienced school leader, advisor and consultant who has worked in the Early Years and Primary Sector for 35 years. She has a strong reputation for supporting school improvement developed through her roles as Headteacher of Primary School, LA Advisor, Head of Early Years & Childcare and School Improvement Partner for Salford Local Authority.

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Mary Prest

Associate Curriculum Consultant
Mary is an experienced school leader, trainer and education consultant, who has worked in the early years and primary sector for over 23 years. As headteacher of a maintained nursery school and training centre judged to be outstanding, she led an inspection in which the school was recognised for its innovative approach to the curriculum and opportunities for outdoor learning. Mary has experience in working across a range primary schools in Nottingham City and has a passion for a research evidenced approach to education which improves life chances and long-term outcomes for children. Her areas of special interest are early years, outdoor learning, the teaching of reading, working with families, and leadership development.

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Jude Twani

Associate Curriculum Consultant
Jude is a highly talented early years consultant and trainer. She has a background steeped in early years having held a range of roles, first as a YR Teacher and then later as an Early Years Consultant and Children’s Centre Teacher. A trained NVQ Assessor and Ofsted Inspector, Jude has delivered training with BEAM on early years maths and collaborated with Michael Jones as co-author of Let’s Talk About Maths.


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