Our Associates


Ann Preston

Ann Preston was a nursery and infant head teacher for many years and has worked in mainstream nurseries, special schools and behaviour support units. She has published books on a variety of topics, including Self Esteem, Outside Provision, Behaviour Management, Stories for School Assemblies and a Reading Scheme. She now combines working as an Early Years Consultant with lecturing and delivering early years courses. Ann is passionate about providing the best possible support for the young children in our care

Cath Larkin

Cath has been a teacher in the EYFS since 1990 and has worked in schools in South Manchester. She has also spent two years as a Children’s Centre Leader in Manchester and has recently left her post working as Head Teacher at Offerton Hall Nursery school which has twice been graded Outstanding by Ofsted, (who described her leadership as “inspirational”) since she took up this headship.

Working collaboratively with other schools, and providing training for practitioners across the Local Authority, Cath is experienced in delivering training across the Early Years sector, internationally as well as at home. Cath is a strong advocate of the use the outdoors for learning across the EYFS and has led the development of Forest School practice an urban environment. Curriculum planning by being “in the moment” with children, rather than planning topics has been very successful and Cath is a strong advocate of this approach. Ensuring that young children receive totally appropriate experiences, rooted in prior attainment is at the core of Cath’s beliefs.

Cath has a BA (hons) PGCE, NPQH and Masters Degree in Childhood studies and practice, and also works with other organisations such as Early Excellence, the North of England Nursery School Head Teacher’s Group. In conjunction with her headship, In 2016 Cath led a programme for the DfE in the North West on the effective use of EYPPG, this involved working with a number of PVI providers.

Debbie Drinkwater

Deb has worked in the addictions field for more than 20 years and became a Freelance Trainer in 2009. With a focus on Parents, Work, Young People & Safeguarding Deb uses interactive methods in Training and workshops to involve delegates and provide models of learning which aim to engage empower & educate . Training is provided to professionals and within communities to ensure that important aspects relating to Safeguarding are not only embedded within Services but are also understood and embraced by families everywhere. After all its is communities who are and will always be our greatest assets when it comes to society and how the world operates.

Dianne Goldsworthy

Dianne has over 28 years experience of working in the childcare profession. Her experience includes working within Manchester’s Sure Start Children’s centre’s as a practitioner and manager and presently as a Quality Assurance Officer for Manchester Local Authority. Dianne is passionate about raising the quality of day care provision and supporting and motivating managers and practitioners to strive for continuous improvement. This is achieved through mentoring settings through quality assurance schemes and allowing the settings to reflect on their practice, which has been key to improving inspection outcomes. Dianne builds a good rapport with people offering consultation, challenge, advice and practical support in a professional manner.

Dianne has developed and delivered a range of training related to the EYFS and is experienced and knowledgeable with all aspects of the EYFS and Ofsted requirements. Dianne was the project leader for the early learning for two year olds pilot in Manchester Local Authority. She worked in collaboration with Tameside Local Authority, to disseminate a two year old training package to early years settings and childminders across both local authorities. Dianne has experience in providing bespoke training packages, workshops and presentations.

Dianne’s qualifications include a Bachelor of Arts Degree with First Class Honours in Early Childhood Studies, Foundation Degree with Distinction in Early Years Practice, Certificate in Management level 5, NNEB, coaching and mentoring training and trained as a designated person in safeguarding.

Kay Heaford

Kay has over 25 years’ experience working in the childcare profession. Her experience includes working in the private sector as a nursery proprietor and delivering training in early years. Kay also works as a freelance Ofsted inspector and is passionate about improving the care, education and outcomes for children and early years professionals. Kay has achieved her BA degree in childhood studies and has completed the PTTLS course to support and deliver training to adults.

Lesley Rudge

Lesley has worked for over 30 years in the childcare profession in a wide range of roles. Her early experience includes working in private sector nurseries and as a childminder before becoming a practitioner within Manchester Schools and Children Centre’s.
After undertaking further study, Lesley then taught young children with complex disabilities and learning needs at home alongside their parents.
She has recently taken up a post as Early Years Senior Quality Assurance Officer for Manchester having worked for several years as the Early Years Education Safeguarding Lead within the same team.
For her contribution to Safeguarding within this role Lesley received the Manchester City Council employee award for Rising Star.

Lesley develops and delivers safeguarding and quality improvement training packages both independently and in collaboration with a number of partner agencies including Early Help, Social Care, Health and the Home Office. This includes safeguarding courses for the Manchester Safeguarding Children Board.
She is involved in a number of Manchester City Council Early Years strategic groups contributing to positive outcomes for Manchester children and families.

Lesley has a strong passion for child protection and her extensive knowledge has supported many Early Years settings to understand their safeguarding responsibilities and deliver quality practice. She has significant knowledge and experience in legislation policy and procedure. Lesley delivers support through network events, mentoring and training and by working closely with managers and staff in responding to safeguarding concerns with advice and practical support.

Lesley’s qualifications include a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Early Childhood Studies, Foundation Degree in Early Years Practice, Certificate in Line Management, NNEB, Portage Qualification in Teaching SEND, Train the Trainer in Safeguarding and Home Office Prevent Duty Approved Trainer

Lisa Holland

Lisa has worked in the child care sector for 25 years.  Her experience includes working in the private sector in Early Years in a variety of roles, including nursery nurse and managerial positions, before moving onto become an assistant SENDco in schools.  Having qualified as a teacher, she currently teaches Early Years Foundation Degree and Level 3 and 4 Teaching Assistants in a college of further education.  She currently combines this with tutoring distance courses; Understanding behaviour that Challenges and Understanding Autism

Miranda Galloway

Miranda Galloway is a qualified trainer and coach with extensive experience across the private, public and voluntary sectors, specialising in the subject areas of communication, health and well being. 

Miranda has a successful record of engaging diverse audiences and enabling them to meet personal, professional or organisational goals. 

She works with integrity, humour and professionalism, using creative and innovative approaches to support groups and individuals.

Sue McDonald

Sue is an honest and open trainer, who enjoys supporting practitioners to learn new skills or to reinforce previous learning with over 20 years childcare experience in a range of roles.

Sue has spent the vast majority of her career in homebased childcare, she was a nanny for over 17 years and during this time also volunteered and worked in playgroups and pre-schools.

Sue has also worked in a nursery setting as a practitioner and after completing a PTTLS course with the National Childminding Association became a Childminding Network Coordinator. As a Network Coordinator Sue managed to build and run an accredited Network of 40 childminders. It was during this time that Sue became a qualified First Aid Trainer. Sue eventually transferred to the Local Authority as a Childminding Development worker where she continued to support Network and non-network childminders to improve their care and services for children and families.

In 2015 Sue became the training coordinator for a small training company run by two nursery schools which amongst other responsibilities included delivering First Aid, Food Safety and EYFS training