Recognition of the most influential people in childcare

Printcanarywharf21 May was a red letter day for the brightest and best in childcare across the UK, who gathered in a suite on the 31st floor of the Barclays HQ in Canary Wharf for an evening celebrating their achievements, courtesy of their sponsors and hosts, Barclays Bank.

The full complement of the NMT Top 20 2015 were there, and excitement rallied high as they waited to learn who had been awarded the highest accolade.

It had been a lengthy process leading up to this point: our panel of judges, Ian Murchie, relationship director of Barclays healthcare and education team, Sue Robb, national head of early years at 4Children, and Richard Dorrance, chair of Training Qualifications UK, sifted through the many nominations before whittling them down to the talented 20.

When, finally, Dr Richard Hawkins, editor-in-chief, broke the suspense and announced Purnima Tanuku OBE, CE of NDNA, as the overall winner, there were cheers and smiles of approval. Praising Purnima for her dedicated lobbying on behalf of the sector and her commitment to raising standards, he added:
“We are very proud of the nursery sector and the many outstanding people who work within it offering superb care to such important members of our communities. NMT Nursery Top 20 recognises the people who are really driving the sector forward and offers them an opportunity to share and spread their positive influence to a wider audience.”

Our congratulations to the runners up:  Laura Henry, MD of Laura Henry Consultancy, and June O’Sullivan, chief executive of London Early Years Foundation.

Five Most Inspirational People

The Five Most Inspirational People were:

Stuart BamfordHeadteacher / founder, Chelsea Pre-Prep and Nursery
Jennifer Blain – Founder / principal, Denning Montessori School
Sue JonesManaging Director and owner, Evolution Childcare
Catriona NasonManaging Director, Daycare Doctor
Kate Peach – Managing Director,  Each Peach Childcare

The NMT Nursery Top 20

The Top 20 were:

Linda Baston-Pitt – Managing Director, Old School House Day Nursery and Training Centre
Andrew CliffordManaging Director, First Class Childcare Group
Laura HenryManaging Director, Laura Henry Consultancy
Jill JohnsonMD and Founder, Twinkles Nursery Ltd
Neil LeitchCEO, Pre-school Learning Alliance
Catherine LyonOwner of EASYSoloution4NURSERYEDUCATION
Ken McArthurOwner of Polly Annas Nursery
Susan McGheeDirector, BNG Training Ltd and Bertram Nursery Group Ltd
Ross MidgleyDirector, People and Business Development (PBD)
Andy MorrisManaging Director, Asquith Nurseries
Inez MurrayMD and owner, Four Seasons Nurseries
June O’SullivanCEO, London Early Years Foundation (LEYF)
Kate PeachManaging Director, Each Peach Childcare
Ruth PimentelCEO, Toad Hall Nursery Group
Sarah RotundoDirector, Childbase Partnership
Sarah SteelManaging Director, The Old Station Nursery
Purnima TanukuCEO, National Day Nurseries Association
Chris TownsonDirector, Toybox Great Denham Ltd
Deborah TroupOwner / Manager, Little Treasures Nursery
Penny WebbChildminder, Penny’s Place

The judges

Richard DorranceChair, Training Qualifications UK
Sue RobbNational Head of Early Years, 4Children
Ian MurchieRelationship Director, Barclays Healthcare and Education Team

A big thank you to… Barclays

“Barclays was delighted to support the NMT Nursery Top 20 and Most Inspirational People awards for the second year, as they recognise and reward individuals within the sector who have made a real difference either by making an impact on the market or on others whom they have inspired.
“Many of the stories that were shared by the nominees on the evening highlighted just how devoted they were to providing the highest standards of childcare. The day nurseries sector plays a vital role in helping to provide children with the best possible start in life, and it was refreshing to be part of an event which recognises the individuals who are contributing so much to the sector and the children in their care.”

Ian Murchie – Relationship Director, Barclays Bank


The six commercial partners were The Consortium Early Years, Connect Childcare, dot2dot,
The Childcare Company,, Asquith Nurseries


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