NDNA’s Board of Trustees 

NDNA’s Board of Trustees is ultimately responsible for the good governance of the charity and ensuring that NDNA works to fulfil its mission of promoting quality in early years. The Board is comprised of 11 member-elected regional and national chairs and a number of co-opted trustees with specific expertise. 

Regional and national chairs chair member forums, represent on NDNA policy committees and inform and advise our policy work. Here, we introduce you to the NDNA Strategic Board.

Sarah Carr OBE

Chair of Trustees

Sarah has chaired the Board since 2001 and has been in early years for the past two decades, founding a group of large nurseries in the North West and now directing an independent primary school and two day nurseries. Sarah’s focus is on ensuring NDNA has the capacity, expertise and profile to grow its membership reach, to be a national focus for early years excellence and to be a dynamic, high-performing and sustainable organisation.

Tina Jones MBE

National Chair for Wales 

Tina has been managing director of her own nursery for many years and has supported the growth of NDNA Cymru to develop strong relationships with the Welsh Government and CSSIW. Tina supports NDNA Cymru in representing the views of members at various meetings. 

Ann McEwan

Scotland National Chair

Ann is a Director of a company owning three nurseries and has been an NDNA member for over 20 years,  she also formed NDNA's Dumfries and Galloway and Allerdale and Copeland networks. Ann is committed to the ethos and aims of NDNA and will listen to, and take forward, Scottish members involvement. 


Mike Abbott

Regional Chair for London

Mike is the Group General Manager for The Co-operative Childcare. As the head of a growing national chain of nurseries Mike believes it is critical to maintain a strong, informed and robust national organisation to represent the views of all day nurseries. Mike is responsible for over 3,000 children across 50 settings nationwide and is committed to driving improvements within a culture governed by high values, principles and guided not only by commercial considerations. 

Linda Baston-Pitt

Regional Chair for the East 

Linda is co-founder of the Old School House Day Nursery, a 120 place day nursery and nursery school and TLC Academy and is committed to sharing good practice. She is involved in a range of committees and groups, including a local NDNA network. 

Nikki Batt

East Midlands Trustee

Nikki is passionate about the early years sector having a strong voice in government. Nikki is an MBA qualified people management specialist and centre manager, trustee and director of charity Kidzone Cranwell Ltd. She has been with the business for eight years and has worked to turn it from a failing facility to a vibrant, creative setting with a dedicated workforce. 

Courteney Donaldson 

Co-opted Trustee 

As Director of Corporate Childcare Sectors at Christie & Co, Courteney has a vast range of expertise in the childcare sector and understanding of current trends. Courteney has specialised in the nursery sector since 1999, providing nursery valuation, transactional and consultative advice.

Helen Gration 

Regional Chair for Yorkshire and the Humber 

Helen is a passionate and committed owner of two thriving Montessori nurseries in York. Her desire for excellence in childcare is a powerful motivator. 

Christopher Gray 

Regional Chair for the North West

Christopher believes a strong voice for day nurseries is essential as the Government moves the childcare agenda forward and he represents on a range of groups, including an NDNA network and the managing committee of a children’s centre. 

Jane Haywood MBE 

Co-opted Trustee

Jane has recently stepped down as the chief executive of the Children’s Workforce Development Council (CWDC). Jane has substantial experience in the children and young people’s field with a particular interest in learning disability, volunteering, play and youth work. She is also chair of the national young people’s charity Endeavour. Jane knows NDNA is a strong voice for the early years sector. On the NDNA board Jane continues her interest in early years and ensures the early years workforce receives the recognition and support it deserves.

Hazel Moody

Regional Chair for the South East

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.

David Smyllie 

Co-opted Trustee

David qualified as a practising solicitor in 1985. After several years as a partner in one of the national law firms, he joined Lupton Fawcett LLP, Solicitors, Leeds in July 2006 as a Director and Member. He is Head of the firm’s Business Recovery & Insolvency Department. David has, for many years, been widely recognised as a leading business recovery and insolvency lawyer with particular focus on advising financially distressed companies and directors and trustees of charities on their duties and responsibilities when faced with financial under performance, distress or insolvency.

Mary Tee

Regional Chair for the West Midlands

With long-standing experience in the childcare sector, Mary believes in the importance of acting as a local voice for members and believes that members have a vital contribution to make to the national debate on childcare. 

Penny Vaughan-Pipe 

Regional Chair for the South West

Penny is active within national and local organisations and plays an active role in her local Chamber. She also represents NDNA members at local partnership meetings. 

Karen Veitch

Regional Chair for the North East

As owner of Emerald Nurseries and Children’s Centres, Karen works with the local NDNA network and sits on various groups to work to improve policy implementation and practice.