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Early years network shortlisted for national award

29th July 2019

A network of professionals working in early years education in Northumberland has been shortlisted for a national award.

Academics from Northumbria University’s Department of Social Work, Education and Community Wellbeing have been working in partnership with Northumberland County Council to lead the Northumberland Early Years Professionals Network.

The network has just been shortlisted for a Nursery World award, which shine a light on best practice in early years education and childcare across the UK.

The Northumberland early years network is shortlisted for the Team Development award. This recognises the success of early years and childcare services who have built a high-quality staff team through good practice in recruitment and retention, training and career development.

The University and County Council joined forces to establish the network two years ago. Since its formation, the Northumberland network has promoted best practice in early years across the council, with all of its activity aimed at promoting the best outcomes for children.

The network has supported strong partnership working and staff recruitment, especially promoting men in early years and childcare. 

It has also provided a variety of training and professional development opportunities including beach school, inclusive practice, the learning environment and health and wellbeing for practitioners and children. 

Caption:Kay Heslop (second right) with the Northumberland early years team


Kay Heslop, a senior lecturer in Northumbria’s Department of Social Work, Education and Community Wellbeing, has been working with the council on the network. She said: “We have built a hugely supportive network across Northumberland over the past two years. The awards provide a great opportunity to be recognised and celebrated so we are excited to share our celebration in reaching this stage.”

Theresa Iley from the Northumberland Early Years Team said that the shortlisting was a “fantastic recognition of the commitment and dedication shown by our members towards quality improvement and best practice; positively impacting on children and families in Northumberland.”

Councillor Wayne Daley, cabinet member for children’s services at Northumberland County Council said that he was delighted, but not surprised, to hear about the network’s shortlisting in these extremely prestigious awards. “I know how hard the team works and how much support they give to early years practitioners through training and development of best practice – which all contributes to the high quality of services across Northumberland,” he said.  

Winners will be announced on 28 September at an awards ceremony in London.

Northumbria University offers a range of courses for people interested in working in childhood and early years settings, and for those already working in early years who are keen to further develop their skills. Visit for more information.

A limited number of places will be available through Clearing for Northumbria’s Childhood and Early Years Studies, and Primary Education degree courses. For more information, visit or call the Clearing Hotline on 0800 085 1085.


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