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Annual National Conference 2019 Speaker Biographies

Professor Tess Ridge OBE 

Professor Tess Ridge OBE is an Honorary Professor of Social Policy at the University of Bath. She is an expert in the study of childhood poverty and social exclusion, especially exploring the experience of poverty and disadvantage from the perspectives of children and young people themselves. She developed some of the first research to reveal the complex ways in which poverty affects children’s lives. She has a keen interest in child and family policy, especially the provision of welfare and economic support for low-income and separated families. Her research challenges policy makers and practitioners  to take children’s needs and concerns seriously when trying to understand what works best for low-income children at home, in school and in their neighbourhoods.

Dr Suzanne Zeedyk

Dr Suzanne Zeedyk currently holds the post of Honorary Senior Lecturer in the School of Psychology, at the University of Dundee, where she has been based since 1993.  Her research expertise focuses on the early communicative interactions of parents and infants.  In recent years, this has extended to the study of interventions for communicative disorders such as autism, sensory impairment, and dementia.

In 2011, she set up an independent training enterprise to allow her to disseminate more widely the science of the early years.  She now spends much of her time speaking to the public about the psychological and neuroscientific bases of communicative interaction.  She works closely with organisations throughout the UK to increase awareness of the decisions we take about caring for children, showing how those decisions are integrally connected to our vision for the kind of society we wish to build.

Dr Sara Baker

Sara is a Senior Lecturer in Psychology and Education (Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge).  She trained as a developmental psychologist and cognitive scientist.  Her work spans psychology, neuroscience and education, to better understand how young children learn about the constantly changing world around them.  Her research, published in journals like Developmental Science, Neuropsychologia, and Early Years, is currently funded by the LEGO Foundation. 

Andrea Layzell

Andrea is a member of the senior leadership team at St Edmund's Nursery School and Children's Centre, in inner city Bradford, West Yorkshire. Her passions include supporting a better equipped, highly regarded early years workforce, how an integrated early years workforce best supports children to achieve their potential and working with parents in respectful, beneficial relationships. 

Sharon Hogan

Sharon Hogan has been Headteacher at Midland Road Nursery School since January 2012. Currently she is currently Acting Executive Headteacher of Midland Road, Strong Close and Abbey Green Nursery Schools in Bradford. Previously she has been Head of Centre at Canterbury Nursery School and Centre for Children and Families in Bradford following which she was a School Improvement Partner/Early Years Adviser in Leeds and Head of Centre at Early Excellence in Huddersfield. She has contributed to a number of early years articles and publications and is a National Leader of Education.

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