Alliance Connect virtual event — This is Early Years: delivering quality care and education in the ‘new normal’

Welcome to the Alliance’s virtual Connect event – FREE to members! 

Wednesday 25 November 4pm - 8pm


Join us for a special Alliance Connect event!

Our new virtual event, This is Early Years: delivering quality care and education in the ‘new normal’, provides the latest information, guidance and practical support on how early years practitioners can provide high-quality care and education against the challenging and ever-changing backdrop of Covid-19.

We know that Alliance Connect events have been integral in helping you to stay connected. That’s why we recently asked you to share priority areas where you would like additional support. You told us that information and support around Ofsted, the EYFS and physical health and wellbeing of children is most important to you now. We listened. This event gives you a chance to find out more about what matters to you most.

The event will also touch on important wider topical issues, such as the Black Lives Matter movement for us and what we can all do to encourage a wider conversation about racial bias and discrimination across the early years.

You’ll also have the opportunity to find out more about our exciting new campaign, #ThisIsEarlyYears, and find out how sharing your experiences of the valuable role you play in your local communities can help us make the positive case for greater government support for early years at a critical time for the sector.

As always, there will be plenty of time to ask questions and connect with each other throughout the event.

‘We’re here to support you to confidently face whatever the coming months may bring.”

- Neil Leitch, Chief Executive

Our keynote speakers

Opening address - Neil Leitch, Chief Executive Officer, Early Years Alliance 

This is Early Years: a new approach to championing the sector

Alliance chief executive Neil Leitch will open the event, reflecting on the past year and the momentous impact it has had on the early years sector, and considering the key challenges and opportunities for providers going forward.

With the government Spending Review, due to be announced earlier in the day, only covering the next year of government spending, Neil will outline the importance of continued campaigning for a wholesale and long-term change to early years funding. He will also discuss how the Alliance’s landmark #ThisIsEarlyYears campaign aims to change the narrative around PVI provision, highlighting the value of the sector in not only supporting parents with childcare, but also delivering quality early education to children during their most important stage of learning and development.

Neil will also touch on the Alliance’s work around the Black Lives Matter movement, looking at how we can work together to address and challenge inequality, racial bias and discrimination, and considering the central role the sector can, and should, play in building and promoting a more diverse and equal society in the long term.

Speaker 2 - Gill Jones, Deputy Director, Early Childhood, Ofsted

Delivering inspections in the ‘new normal’

With routine Ofsted inspections currently planned to return in January, it is important that providers feel well prepared and understand what inspectors' expectations are likely to be in light of the challenges facing many practitioners continuing to deliver care and education in the current environment.

In this useful and informative session, Gill Jones, Early Education Deputy Directorate Ofsted, will outline the inspectorate's plans for next year, explaining how inspectors will demonstrate sensitivity to the challenges presented by Covid-19 and prioritise the safety and welfare of everyone involved in the visits.

Join Gill to hear more and have an opportunity to discuss how Ofsted Inspections might look in the 'new normal'. This is a great opportunity to network, share ideas and ease yourself back into the thought process of being ‘Ofsted ready.’

Speaker 3 - Christina and Robbie Dee, Forest School trainers and Directors of (FSLI) Forest School Initiative

Inspiring children through positive outdoor experiences

With so much change happening to children’s routines and family circumstances, combined with the need to minimise the spread of COVID-19 and the arrival of winter, the importance of maintaining children’s physical wellbeing has become more vital than ever. Chris and Robbie from Forest School Learning Initiative (England) will lead a stimulating session about the Forest School approach, exploring how practitioners can engage and inspire children through positive outdoor experiences.

In this session, you will have an opportunity to explore your own experiences around whether you feel children have become more risk averse in response to lockdown and current local restrictions, gain important insight into how children can be empowered to manage risk, and discuss the importance of vocabulary to mirror the messages of empowerment.

Speaker 4 – Ben Kingston Hughes, Director of Inspired Children Ltd and Early Years Consultant

Joy, Wonder and Curiosity in their early years

Ben’s session will focus on the importance of inspiring joy, wonder and curiosity amongst very young children. We know that the past year has changed the way some children see themselves and the world around them. With more uncertainty likely over the coming months, creating magical and life-changing experiences for children in your care has the potential to be particularly transformative.

Ben’s unique interactive session will highlight how we can inspire, support and nurture awe and wonder in our children, covering often-underrated concepts which are the cornerstones of neurological development, such as divergent thinking, imagination, creativity and life-long learning. You will take away a wealth of ideas to embed into your practice, including how a healthy dose of joy to interactions with children. With vibrant practical ideas, up-to-date neuroscience and thought-provoking real-life examples, this session is a must for anyone wanting to inspire awe and wonder in their children at this challenging time.


The agenda (subject to change)

15.45  Virtual event opens

16.00 – 16.15  Welcome

16:15 – 17:00  Neil Leitch — The is Early Years: a new approach to championing the sector + Q&A

17.05 – 17.50  Gill Jones — Delivering inspections in the 'new' normal + Q&A

20 minute comfort break

18.10 – 18.55  Christina and Robbie Dee — Inspiring children through positive outdoor experiences + Q&A

19.00 – 19.45  Ben Kingston Hughes — Joy, Wonder & Curiosity + Q&A

19.45 — 20.00 Close

How our virtual Alliance Connect event works  

Make our event work for you

The virtual event takes place on Wednesday, 25 November from 4pm til 8pm. Join us for the whole event or for particular sessions. 

It really is up to you... we know how busy you are and how difficult it can be to take time out, so you are welcome to join at any time. 

How to book

  1. Complete the registration form.
  2. Please indicate which keynote sessions you wish to join.
  3. You will then be emailed a link, which we advise you to save, that directly takes you into the waiting room of the event.
  4. If you are not a member of the Alliance, you will be sent your link once we have received your payment.


Free to members and affordable for everyone else

We work hard to ensure our events are inclusive. We want everyone to have an opportunity to enjoy our Alliance Connect networking events. 

For this special virtual Connect event, Alliance members will enjoy it for FREE.

Group provider non-members pay £10 while childminders and baby and toddler group non-members pay just £5. 

Everyone who joins the event receives a free virtual goodie bag which includes all keynote presentations and a Managing Your Ofsted Inspection online publication.


Book now


Any questions? Email us at

GB, Online, Online
25 Nov 2020 16:00 to 20:00