Badminton Olympic silver-medallist Gail Emms MBE and leading business thinker and founder of toddler nutrition phenomenon Ella’s Kitchen Paul Lindley will inspire delegates at our nursery conference in June.

The conference, taking place this year in Manchester on 30 June, will be discussing key themes of resilience, motivation and leadership with a top class line up of speakers. 

Gail (pictured left) and Paul will be appearing alongside maths and science legend Johnny Ball and mental health expert Professor Dame Sue Bailey, who chairs the Children and Young People’s Mental Health Coalition. And in the year that the ‘free’ entitlement for three and four-year-olds will be extended to 30 hours across England, we hear from nursery early implementers who will share their experiences about how they are making the scheme work for their nursery and parents.

The conference, supported by headline sponsors Hope Education and Citation Professional Solutions, is split into a leadership stream and a practice stream.  

Purnima Tanuku OBE, Chief Executive of NDNA, said: “Our presenters are extremely entertaining and very enlightening this year. We can’t wait for our conference to start now.

“Our latest speakers to the line-up, Gail Emms and Paul Lindley, are the icing on the cake. We look forward to welcoming our many delegates to the Emirates Old Trafford who can also enjoy browsing in our marketplace of relevant exhibitors.”

Vibrant entrepreneur and now bestselling author Paul Lindley (pictured left) founded Ella’s Kitchen after he had struggled to wean his young daughter, Ella. The company quickly became the UK’s number one baby food brand, with a mission to improve children’s lives by encouraging them to develop healthy relationships with food. 

Paul will kick off the conference by giving delegates an insight into how he built one of the UK’s most successful toddler brands and his ideas on why he believes that thinking like a toddler holds the key to business success. He will refer to his new book “Little Wins” in which he encourages us to re-capture the imagination, playfulness and confidence we all once had as toddlers.

Remember watching badminton supremo Gail Emms locked in an epic battle at the Athens Olympics in 2004 to win a silver medal with doubles partner Nathan Robertson? 

Gail, now mother to two young sons, is still a force of nature, campaigning for her sport to receive more funding and progressing her career in sports presenting. She is also an ambassador for both the Youth Sports Trust and Badminton England, inspiring children to lead healthier, more active lifestyles. 

She will be giving her fascinating insight into her sporting career from a tin hut in Bedford to playing in front of the world at the Olympics. She will speak about how to inspire children to achieve through sport and physical literacy.

If an early years minister has been appointed in time to appear at the conference, there is an open invitation for them to speak to delegates in what would be one of their first engagements. 

Highlights of the rest of the speaker programme include:

Johnny Ball, of BBC’s Think of a Number, Playschool and more recently Strictly Come Dancing fame, is a passionate advocator for enjoying maths and science and will conjure up a world of numbers for ALL delegates to open our minds to maths
Prof Dame Sue Bailey, who chairs Children and Young People’s Mental Health Coalition, gives the current picture of children’s mental health and discusses how to set our young children off on the right track with a positive attitude 
Bestselling author Anna Ephgrave will inspire practitioners with her “planning in the moment” thinking
Jane Evans appears on television and radio as a parent and child trauma expert. Jane, author of Little Meerkat’s Big Panic among others, will focus on recognising and reducing anxiety among children, along with their parents and carers
Get into party mood with dancer Helen Battelley of Music and Movement who will give her tips on keeping our little ones active to music. You may end up dancing a mambo!
Award-winning Chris Williams will present Chatta, a new way of accelerating children’s speech and communication which has been developed using audio-visual technology
Storysack inventor and children’s author Neil Griffiths will help you to become a magical storyteller

Our other sponsors include KPMG Small Business Accounting, Pound Gates and trade magazine Nursery World as media sponsor. 

Find out about our early bird offer which runs until 31 May here  or contact NDNA Events Manager or call 01484 40 70 75.

Contact if you are interested in exhibiting at the conference or call 01484 407069. 

As the conference is a one-day event, delegates are invited to have a ball at the NDNA Nursery Awards that evening, at the same venue, hosted by the inimitable Johnny Ball.

This year he will presenting nine awards, including the new Manager of the Year and an international category for Nursery of the Year alongside our five current Scottish, Welsh and regional English winners.

This is the perfect excuse for a team night out with a sumptuous dinner and dancing to a live band till late. Find out more about our awards by visiting