Alliance Annual Conference 2022

boy looking up at tree

Book your place nowSmall steps, big changes: building an ambitious vision for the early years

Thursday 9 June 2022 — 6pm, online

FREE to Alliance members (including all staff team members) and £15 for non-members

The challenges facing the early years, society and the world at large can sometimes feel daunting and impossible to overcome – so how do we build a positive, ambitious collective vision for the early years and childhood in this country: one that recognises the vital role of early education and childcare in society, acknowledges the critical importance of learning through play, and values the unwavering dedication, commitment and professionalism of the early years workforce? 

As early educators, we also have a unique opportunity to shape, encourage and inspire our youngest children to know that they can make a difference in the world – but how best can we plant those seeds to nurture a generation of citizens with a strong sense of moral purpose, environmental awareness and social responsibility? And what steps can we as adults take to help create a safer and more sustainable planet for the next generation? 

This year’s conference celebrates the role that each of us can play in building and sustaining not only a successful, thriving early education sector, but also in creating a positive vision for the society as a whole – because even the smallest of steps can lead to the biggest of changes. 

In line with an increased focus on environmental sustainability, and to minimise the cost impact for attendees at what we know remains a difficult time for many providers, we have chosen to once again hold a virtual event. 

We are happy to confirm this means the conference will once again be free to attend for Alliance members (this includes free tickets all staff members for setting members) and just £15 for non-members.

How will you make a difference?

To support the event's aim to encourage us all to look at the small things we can do that might make a big difference to our local community, society or the world as a whole, we're asking all members to do one good deed, either individually or with their setting, in place of a ticket fee.

Find out more and share your deed with us!

Keynote speakers

Rosamund Adoo-Kissi-DebrahRosamund Adoo-Kissi-Debrah  

Rosamund Adoo-Kissi-Debrah is a WHO BreatheLife ambassador and founder of the Ella Roberta Family Foundation, based in London. She became a clean air advocate after her nine-year-old daughter, Ella, died in 2013 from asthma. She will talk to the conference about her campaign for clean air.

Rosamund spent several years campaigning for a second coroner's inquest into Ella's death to determine whether it was linked to air pollution. In a landmark decision in December 2020, the coroner ruled it was.

Ella is now the first person in the world to have air pollution listed as a cause of death on her death certificate.

Rosamund is also an Honorary Fellow of the British Science Association and was named among You Magazine's 21 Most Extraordinary Women of 2021, British Vogue's 25 Extraordinary Women of 2021, The Times' Green Power List 2021 and BBC Radio 4 Woman's Hour's Power List 2020. 



Andreas Rasch-ChristensenAndreas Rasch-Christensen 

Andreas Rasch-Christensen, PhD, is director of research at VIA University College in Denmark.

He has extensive experience in implementing and managing research and evaluation activities within early childhood and primary education.

He represents Denmark as an independent national expert on education on the behalf of the EU Commission, and earlier this year, met with the Duchess of Cambridge on her trip to the country with The Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood.

He will talk to the conference about international models of early years practice (specifically Nordic countries).

He is the author of several books and scientific articles and a member of various advisory boards in the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Science.  


Neil Leitch

The Alliance’s chief executive Neil Leitch will also address attendees, speaking about the need to build a positive long-term vision for early education in England.






Following the keynotes, attendees can attend one of three seminars.


Donna GaywoodPrioritising children’s mental health and wellbeing – Donna Gaywood, teacher and Birth to 5 Matter project co-ordinator. 

The impact of the past two years on the mental health of young children cannot be underestimated, and so it has never been more important for early years educators to ensure that supporting the wellbeing of the children in their care is a central part of their practice. 

In this interactive session, Donna will explore the thinking around children’s mental health, and how to create a positive learning environment where children can thrive. The session will also look at the link between adult and child mental health and wellbeing, possible pitfalls to avoid and the importance of intervening early. 


Kim EsnardTime to thrive: a fresh approach to staff wellbeing – Kim Esnard, founder and director of the Early Years Collective training and consultancy 

With many settings currently facing myriad challenges – from financial pressures to recruitment and retention difficulties to the ongoing impact of the pandemic – working in the early years sector is increasingly taking a toll on the wellbeing and mental health of the workforce. 

In this seminar, Kim will share her inspirational approach to supporting staff wellbeing in the early years, looking at how settings can make the health of their workforce a priority and embed this into their day-to-day practice. Through innovative concepts such as The Unique Practitioner and Characteristics of Effective Wellbeing, she will explore the practical steps that settings can take to improve outcomes for practitioners and educators.  


Ben Bolton GrantSupporting early language development – Ben Bolton Grant, speech and language therapist and university lecturer 

Language and communication development in the early years is one of the strongest predictors of future outcomes.  

During this seminar, you will discuss the importance of language and communication development, learn what to expect at different ages and stages and how to identify concerns. Ben will also share tips to help you ensure that your setting is a language-rich environment and that the interactions that you and your team have with children are as effective as possible. 


Belle Tutaev Lifetime Achievement Award 2022

This year will also see the return of the Belle Tutaev Lifetime Achievement Award, which will be announced at the event.

The Belle Tutaev Lifetime Achievement Award gives you a chance to formally acknowledge the incredible contribution made by one special individual to your service – whether pre-school, nursery, childminder, baby and toddler group or creche.


  • 6pm: Welcome from Chair Graham McMillian
  • Keynote address by Rosamund Adoo-Kissi-Debrah
  • Keynote address by Andreas Rasch-Christensen
  • 6.40pm: Keynote address by Neil Leitch
  • 6.55pm: Q&A session
  • 7.10pm: Belle Tutaev Lifetime Achievement Award
  • 7.25pm: A final word from Neil Leitch
  • 7.30pm: First part of conference closes

Comfort break 

  • 7.50pm - 8.45pm:  Seminar options (each attendee can attend one seminar) 


Book your place now

FREE to Alliance members and £15 for non-members



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