Debra McAndrew of Early Years Advocacy oversees the coordination and facilitation of a Hampshire Early Years Network, known as HEN. Membership is currently made up of a mix of nursery and pre-school owners and managers operating within Hampshire and in Southampton. Many have been members since the network was first established in April 2016, but new members have joined since then.

Debra is an Early Years Professional with 30 years of experience in the sector and is an award- winning Personal Development Coach (within education). She ensures that the network is appropriately coordinated and facilitated to meet the members needs and these are regularly reviewed.

Aims and objectives of the group

For members to come together at regular intervals; to have professional and respectful debate; seek support and advice from each other acknowledging differences of opinions; to discuss changing legislation and the impact of this; to consider sharing resources and training and to have an active and committed network/forum of EY professionals.

Membership costs cover the following:

  • Usually 6 x meetings each year covering members interests and to include ‘hot’ topics, short taster-training sessions, invited service or resource providers, and if required a speaker. And/or as required Digital ‘meetings’ using Zoom.
  • Full coordination, facilitation and professional input at meetings provided by Debra with dates usually planned a year in advance.
  • All papers and supporting documents prepared and distributed in advance of meeting for printing by members.
  • Opportunity for informal networking with like-minded and committed professionals operating in the Hampshire area, including within Southampton (currently).
  • Opportunity to buy in extra services or training at reduced rates if required.
    Facilitation of any shared training if required by members (reducing cost to individuals) through external providers.
  • Access to other professionals and experts in associated fields if required.
  • Signposting to articles and news from other Early Years organisations.
  • Confidential telephone support/advice as a ‘critical friend’ or ‘sounding board’ if required.
  • Access to Personal Development Coaching at an additional cost if required.
  • Provision of refreshments for meetings – to keep the brain active!
  • New for 2020 is the option for staff to join a SEN Support Group facilitated by an Associate Trainer/experienced expert within the field of SEN.

What Members Say

“The chance to be with people that understand. To meet other owners and develop relationships and to improve communication in the sector”
“Discussing hot topics and having guest speakers to broaden knowledge”
“Great to have the support of local owners who are all facing the same issues”
“Getting to know like-minded people and having the feeling that you are not alone”
“Information sharing opportunities”
“Attending these meetings is a must for my own CPD”
“Opportunity to discuss current issues and debate local and government initiatives”
“Being able to approach the group outside of meetings on subjects such as pensions and fee increases and to ask for recommendations on professionals to deal with HR matters”

Topics debated in the past and often provided by external professional speakers/trainers have included:

  • Meeting the skills gap in the sector
  • Leadership and management development
  • Addressing staffing needs
  • Speech and Language Therapy input – communication and building a child’s profile
  • The Ofsted inspection experience – from a trained EY inspector
  • Pay scale survey and discussions regarding pay
  • Safeguarding/Prevent Duty
  • Staff contracts and sickness
  • Getting the best from your staff
  • Behaviour management strategies
  • Structuring of effective supervision meetings
  • SEN and funding
  • Input on Early Years Initial Teacher Training
  • Forest School Leader input
  • Addressing mental health issues and providing mental health well-being.

This is not an exhaustive list. Whatever members require can usually be sourced by Debra.

To find out more please make contact to raise any questions or to enquire.

Services Available

Register Interest

If you are interested in any of the services and would like to find out more, please contact me by calling 07470 235 250 or fill in the form below.

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