Early Excellence

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Meet the Early Excellence Team

Choose Early Excellence as your specialist school improvement partner and gain access to an unrivalled breadth of expertise in the strategic leadership of EYFS & KS1.

Our highly specialist School Improvement Team, all National Leaders or Headteachers, offer high level, challenging professional dialogues to unpick in detail the strengths and areas of development around the quality and impact of your Early Years and Infant Phases.

Offering advice, guidance, support and facilitation whilst undertaking the role of a ‘critical and constructive friend’ – this partnership will drive forward sustainable improvements.

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Nikki Walters

Head of Regional Development
Nikki is a director of Early Excellence and a key member of our Strategic Leadership Team. She connects with LA, MATs, schools and settings to discuss and shape bespoke programmes of support, and she co-ordinates the work of the Curriculum Team who deliver onsite consultancy and training. Nikki brings with her over 20yrs experience of supporting school improvement, helping to develop quality EYFS and KS1 practice in schools. Previously Nikki taught for 10yrs in both the EYFS and 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.

Sarah Carey

School Improvement Lead
Sarah is a key member of our Strategic Leadership Team. Focused on designing, developing and delivering School Improvement Services, she offers expert support to senior leaders who need help in driving forward their improvement priorities in EYFS & KS1. 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 highly-experienced at strategic planning for sustained school improvements. During her 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.

Phil Armstrong

Senior Education Lead
With a keen eye on the national agenda, policy developments, research and practice, Phil is a key member of our Strategic Leadership Team. He leads on educational developments and their implications for schools, offering consultancy and training to schools across England and internationally, focused on school improvement priorities. 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.

Andy Burt

Curriculum Consultant & EYFS Trainer
Andy Burt is a highly experienced EYFS Trainer and a member of the EEX Curriculum Team. Previously an EYFS teacher and school leader, Andy 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 in the classroom, led to the exploration of the importance of open-ended role play and the development of ‘whatever you want it to be’ role play areas.

Matthew Sayer

Curriculum Consultant & EYFS Trainer
Matthew Sayer is a highly experienced EYFS Trainer and a member of the EEX Curriculum Team, having worked in early education for many years. Matthew has taught and led the EYFS and lectured in Early Years at Canterbury Christchurch University. He also has experience as an Early Years Adviser providing advice, support and challenge to local settings and schools across Kent County Council.

Nova Robinson

Curriculum Consultant & KS1 Trainer
Nova Robinson is a highly experienced KS1 Trainer and a member of the EEX Curriculum Team. Nova 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. Nova is experienced in peer to peer support and delivering KS1 CPD and training.

Llewella Ivins

Curriculum Consultant & EYFS/KS1 Trainer
Llewella is an experienced teacher and school leader specialising in the Early Years and KS1. She has held roles such as EYFS Lead, Assistant Headteacher and been the Early Years Advisor for a large MAT. Before joining Early Excellence, Llewella worked for Coventry City Council as their Early Years Learning and Development Advisor where she supported a wide variety of schools, settings and MATs to improve quality and outcomes for children. Llewella’s expertise lies in teacher development and quality improvement, including the delivery of CPD, coaching and supporting teachers and leaders to improve their practice and pedagogy.

Clare King

Curriculum Consultant & EYFS/KS1 Trainer
Clare is a highly accomplished teacher and leader who has been at the forefront of school improvement and leadership in both Kent and Cambridgeshire. Clare has held senior roles including Head of Early Years and Children’s Centre Strategic Manager as well as Assistant and Deputy Headteacher and Acting Headteacher. She has worked with Local Authorities, MATs and schools using her passion and Early Years specialism to drive school improvement and pupil outcomes. Clare is a highly regarded leader in school improvement, curriculum development and high quality learning environments with proven knowledge of early childhood development 3-7yrs.

Lynda Trueman

Leadership Consultant
Lynda is a highly experienced school leader having spent over 35yrs in school and LA roles. Her expertise in curriculum and pedagogy has developed through her teaching and leadership in both infant and primary schools, culminating in Head of a very successful Nursery and Primary school. Lynda’s LA roles included Early Years Advisor; School Inspector; Head of the School Improvement Partnership team; and Head of the Early Years and Childcare Service. Through her strategic support for settings and schools, Lynda earned a strong reputation for her inspirational leadership and contribution to LA wide improvements in both pupil achievement and inspection outcomes.