Judging panel

NDNA Chairs

Purnima Tanuku OBE - Chief Executive

Purnima, supported by the Board of Trustees, leads the strategic direction of NDNA. She has developed NDNA into the Voice of the Sector, the strongest and biggest representative organisation for early years across the UK. Purnima represents the sector to Government Ministers, parliamentarians, civil servants and local authorities.

She regularly appears on national television, radio, online and print media sharing the views of our nursery members, raising public awareness and lobbying Government for the support nurseries need to deliver high quality care and education for their children.

Cara Brundle - Director of Business Development


Cara is responsible for membership services, brand marketing and corporate partnerships at NDNA. She leads the teams that ensure the charity delivers membership services and benefits, which support nurseries to deliver high quality care and education.

Sara Bonetti - Interim Director of the Institute of Early Years Education

Sara is Interim Director of the Institute of Early Years Education and researcher with 15 years of experience advocating on behalf of children and families within government, non-profit and research institutions. Her work focuses on the early years workforce and the relationship between workforce characteristics and children’s outcomes, particularly socio-emotional development and language and communication skills. She has also done extensive research on leadership and systems integration.

Stella Ziolkowski - Director of Quality and Training

Stella heads up the training and delivery portfolio at NDNA, ensuring high quality and meaningful practice based services meet the needs of members and their workforce. Her focus is on providing continuous professional development for practitioners so in turn they are able to provide evidence-based high quality early education experiences for children. Stella has been instrumental in the growth of NDNA’s online learning offer including Quality Counts, Millie’s Mark and Maths Champions.

Jonathan Broadbery - Director of Policy and Communications

Jonathan is responsible for NDNA’s policy and press work within England, Scotland and Wales. He works with NDNA members and strategic Government contacts, policy advisers and the media to promote policies which support quality early years education and care. With a background in national and local government, he has experience in delivering real change through lobbying, engagement and media work. His role is responsible for supporting NDNA’s national policy committees as well as managing the work of NDNA Scotland and NDNA Cymru.

Awards Judges

Liz Elsom - Early Years Consultant and member of NDNA Policy Advisory Board

Now working as an early years consultant, Liz is a qualified early years teacher who has spent her whole career working with young children or on their behalf. She recently retired from a full-time post at Ofsted where she was responsible for early years policy. Liz worked for Ofsted for 14 years in a variety of roles

Susan Hill - Owner of Wellside Kindergarten and NDNA Trustee for Scotland

Susan has been running her nursery for the past 30 years and works on a daily basis with children, staff and families. She has a good understanding of the childcare sector at both a local and national level and works tirelessly to keep up-to-date with issues, trends, initiatives, national guidance and financial challenges that the sector faces.

Nikola Masters - Owner of Osbourne Lodge Nursery and NDNA Trustee for Wales

Nikola Masters firmly believes that together we are a stronger voice within the childcare sector and has acted in the role of NDNA South East Wales Network Chair for many years. Nikola opened Osbourne Lodge Nursery in Pontypool, Torfaen in 1998.

Linda Baston-Pitt - Early Years Associate

A social entrepreneur and experienced director with a demonstrated history of working across health and education sectors. Skilled in EdTech eLearning development, early childhood education, public speaking and curriculum development. Linda holds a BA Hons in Early Years Leadership & Management from Liverpool Hope University and is founder and creator of the PANCo role.

Philip Siddell - Co-owner of Humpty Dumpty Day Nurseries Ltd and NDNA Trustee

Passionate about defending the right of private day nurseries to run their own businesses in a sustainable and profitable way, Philip is keen to share successful pricing policies operating within government guidelines, yet using the possibilities of the legislation to the full, including what is left unsaid! He is co-owner of Humpty Dumpty Day Nurseries Ltd, founded by his wife Carol in 1987 and comprising 4 nurseries and 7 before and after school clubs.

Clare Roberts - CEO of Kids Planet Day Nurseries and member of NDNA Policy Advisory Board

Clare Roberts is the CEO of Kids Planet Day Nurseries and founded the business in 2008 with her father; John Hoban, and sister; Lucy Kaczmarska joining in 2013, making Kids Planet a truly family run business. The company has since grown to over 140 settings across the North West, Midlands and Yorkshire.

Kathryn Peckham - Founder, Early Childhood Consultant

Kathryn entered the sector in 2005 after retraining, gaining her Early Years Professional Status and a Masters in Early Years. She has worked within early years practice for many years, managing a number of settings and writing a monthly column for Nursery World. progressing to direct care and education at a senior management level. She combined practical experience with strong theoretical knowledge to enable her to lead practice throughout many settings.

Hazel Moody - Director of Childcare at Advantage Day Nursery and NDNA Trustee

Hazel believes strongly that all members share common problems and issues as they work to deliver the best care for young children, and she is keen to share her knowledge and experience in this area.

Sue Poole - Nursery Director, Monkton Nursery School and NDNA Network Chair

The nursery was established in 1980 by Dr Sue Poole as the first nursery in Liverpool to offer combined day care and education. Apart from a degree in English and Early Years Education, Sue has a Masters degree and Ph.D in Design and Architectural History, and she was an Ofsted Registered Inspector of Nurseries for six years.

Tina Jones MBE - Wales Policy Advisory Board Member and Senior Manager / Proprietor of Tiny Tots Prestatyn

Tina celebrated the 50th anniversary of setting up her nursery last year and has been actively involved with NDNA as a Trustee for over 20 years. Tina has supported the growth of NDNA Cymru to develop strong relationships with the Welsh Government and CSSIW. Tina has a passion for ‘quality’ and achieved the Quality Counts scheme with NDNA, then became an assessor and part of the Quality Counts panel. Tina has great dedication and commitment to children’s early learning & development, runs an out-of-school childcare provision and has also made a big commitment to outdoor learning. Tina was awarded an MBE for her services to children in 2016. Outside the world of early years Tina has been a longstanding Councillor in Denbighshire and just served as Mayor of Prestatyn.

Gillian Christie - Early Years SENCo Support Tutor

Gillian has over 15 years' experience working in the early years sector including 10 years as Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator and Early Years Teacher in a children's centre. Gillian is currently delivering a Level 3 Early Years SENCo course to nursery practitioners across England, and as a qualified assessor is also assessing their work.

Sarah Steel - Founder & Chair of The Old Station Nursery and Chair of NDNA Trustees

Sarah Steel joined the NDNA Board of Trustees as Chair in November 2021. Sarah founded The Old Station Nursery in 2002 when she was looking for high quality childcare for her own small children. Since then the company has grown to 10 sites around the UK before she sold it to French company, La Maison Blue. She has remained as Chair of the UK company which now has 79 sites.

Sponsor Judges

Christie & Co - Nursery of the Year

Courteney Donaldson - Managing Director of Childcare & Education Sectors at Christie & Co and NDNA Trustee

As Managing Director of Childcare & Education at Christie & Co, Courteney has a vast range of expertise in the sector. Courteney has specialised in the nursery sector since 1999, providing valuation, transactional and consultative advice to operators, banks and investors.

Citation - Manager of the Year

Nigel Lea - National Partnerships Manager, Citation

Nigel is the Early Years Partnerships Manager for Citation and has worked closely with the NDNA for over 10 years. His remit is to ensure that Citation continue to offer essential business services to help NDNA members remain legally compliant and market leading.