NDNA’s Early Years Advisers 

NDNA’s Early Years Advisers all have many years of in-depth experience in early years practice, and keep abreast of new childcare developments and research, which puts them in the best position to give advice and support to our members on all kinds of childcare issues, and to promote the highest quality standards.

Members can call 01484 40 70 70 with your membership number ready for FREE support and advice from our experts.

Jo Baranek 

Jo Baranek is our Lead Early Years Adviser and has been working at NDNA since 2008. Jo trained as a Primary School Teacher, with a specialism in Maths, before entering Early Years. She managed a large nursery and out of school club before moving to work for Ofsted as an Early Years Inspector. At NDNA, Jo leads on all elements of safeguarding, and is our Designated Lead for Safeguarding across the organisation. 


Fiona Bland

Fiona has over 20 years of experience (both nationally and internationally) in the early years sector, beginning her career as a key person progressing on to leadership and management roles. She has a BA (Hons) and EYP status, and has completed the Certificate to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector (CTLLS) to support her work with adult learners. Fiona has also worked as a freelance Ofsted inspector.

Before joining NDNA in 2011 Fiona worked for the British Council in Hong Kong, developing English language programmes for Chinese children aged from 2 to 8 years and also developed teacher training programmes for early years teachers. Fiona is leading on NDNA's Maths Champions programme.

Deborah Robinson

Deborah has vast experience in the nursery sector, initially building her own nursery in 2001 then developing a small chain of six settings which were sold in 2012.  A graduate in Business and Management and qualified in teaching in the lifelong learning sector, Deborah has developed business-related publications, courses and supported members with their own businesses. Deborah delivers training for NDNA as well as working with many Local Authorities and on Department for Education projects. Presently, her role is Business Support Manager and Specialist Early Years Adviser. She has been part of the NDNA team since 2012.


Nicola Wardropper

Nicola has worked in the early years sector for over 12 years and has EYP status. She began her career as a nursery nurse and has managed two nurseries. Nicola worked for a local authority for seven years leading a team of childcare development officers to provide support, advice and training to childcare providers. Nicola developed and carried out quality audits and has supported providers with Ofsted requirements. Nicola was lead for safeguarding, carrying out safeguarding audits and termly briefings for managers. She has also previously been a freelance Ofsted Early Years Inspector. Nicola is helping on eQuality Counts and the co-ordination of Millie's Mark.


Hazel Davies

Hazel has over 25 years’ experience in early education through teaching, advisory, training and leadership roles. She successfully led an ‘Outstanding’ Children’s Centre for 7 years and has worked both nationally and internationally to develop practice working with young children and their families. Co-author of ‘The Foundations of Effective Outreach’, she held the position of Outreach System Leader for the Department for Education and the National College of Teaching as well as Children’s Centre System Leader for Surrey. Previously Hazel has held the position of Early Years Special Educational Needs Advisor for a Local Authority and through her Children’s Centre work and has developed integrated services for children and families with complex needs. Hazel is leading on NDNA's SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disability) and Literacy Champion's programmes and delivers training.

Praksha Bathia

Praksha is an experienced Business Adviser, supporting development and growth of Small and Medium Enterprises within the early years sector. She provides guidance in business management, building the confidence of owners, managers and committees. Praksha has worked with schools, supporting the development of childcare settings on-siteand in developing sustainable business plans. Praksha coordinates the implementation of training, recruitment and retention, working with childcare training providers to set up training opportunities and qualifications courses. Praksha  has been a part of funding panels for qualification courses, play-schemes and capital funding through working with a local authority. She is an SFEDI qualified business adviser and holds a CMI Level 5 Award in Business Advice.


Sue AsquithSue Asquith

Sue has over 19 years’ experience in the Early Years sector, beginning her career as a registered childminder (graded Ofsted Outstanding twice). She progressed on to being a mentor, lead childminder affiliated with local children centres and an Early Lead Language Practitioner.  In addition to a BA (Hons) in Early Years, she has a 7407 Level 4 Certificate in Further Education and A1 Assessor’s Award and has been teaching adult learners on accredited and non-accredited courses since 2002.

Sue has been an NDNA Associate Consultant since 2012 as well as working on Department for Education projects with charities such as ICAN and the Communication Trust.  She is currently working on our SEND Champions programme.