Early Years’ Area Network Meetings

These area meetings were set up by the local authority to help promote partnership working across the Early Years’ sector. The areas are as follows:

  • North
  • North Carr
  • East
  • West
  • Park
  • Riverside

The meetings run each term and are based in different locations within each area network. The meetings are led by a Children’s Centre or Local Authority Early Years Leader.

At each meeting current early years issues are discussed, such as moderation, assessment, transition, SEND and Early Years Pupil Premium. The meetings provide a great opportunity for practitioners from all settings to network and share ideas for good practice.

Tidal Teaching School Alliance has deployed six Specialist Leaders of Education (SLEs) to work alongside the Children’s Centres and Local Authority and to attend the meetings to help support the idea of partnership working. The SLEs are available to offer advice and support and can visit settings to deliver bespoke training to meet the setting’s needs. The work of the SLEs is focused on improving outcomes for children across Hull and the wider area.

If you would like to attend one of the area network meetings or if you would like to discuss any early years’ issues you can contact one of our SLEs for further advice and support.

Early Years Quality Improvement Grant

Project Lead


Contact Details

Simon Witham



Tel: 01482 854632

Network Areas and SLEs

Network Area

SLE/Lead Teacher


Contact Details


Jane Marson

Christopher Pickering


Tel: 01482 352245


Emily Dines



Tel: 01482 331900


Caroline Knight


cknight @thorpepark.hull.sch.uk

Tel: 01482 854632


Claire Smith



Tel: 01482 331900


Laura Harkin



Tel: 01482 303300

North Carr

Claire Hamilton



Tel: 01482 825279

LA link teacher

Helen Tan

Hull City Council


Tel: 01482 854632

Current SLEs

Emily Dines
Emily DinesMaybury Primary School
Emily has 7 years of experience as a class teacher in the EYFS. She has been the Foundation Stage coordinator at Maybury Primary school since 2012 and currently plays an active role within the school’s senior leadership team.

Emily is an outstanding teacher and has been instrumental in developing a highly successful EYFS unit in her current school. Due to the excellent practice that Emily has led, Maybury’s Foundation Stage were judged outstanding by Ofsted in May 2015.She has experience of supporting colleagues within her own school and is committed to inspiring and motivating colleagues in developing outstanding practice.

She has also provided school to school support to a number of schools across Hull, with a key focus on developing Early Years provision and practice, and the teaching of phonics.

Laura Harkin
Laura HarkinWhitehouse / Bridgeview / Sullivan Centre
Laura has worked in education in Hull for 16 years. She has been a nursery nurse, mainstream class teacher, foundation stage coordinator, Children Centre teacher and an Early Years Standards and Improvement Officer for the Local Authority.

In 2010 she was appointed as teacher and outreach worker for the Whitehouse Pupil Referral Unit and as part of the team achieved an Outstanding Ofsted grade in 2013.

In September 2013 she became assistant head teacher of Whitehouse PRU, Bridgeview Special School and the Sullivan Centre PRU for Medical Needs.

Laura is part of a leadership team across three settings and leads teaching and learning in the Bridgeview Whitehouse classrooms. She also has a critical outreach role supporting schools and individual children at risk of permanent exclusion. Her behaviour management and coaching skills are extensive and she delivers training in Hull and other Authorities.

Claire Smith
Claire SmithMaybury Primary School
Claire is Deputy Head at Maybury Primary and is also one of the strategic leads for Tidal Teaching School Alliance. She has many years’ experience working in Early Years, ranging from managing private nursery provision to Foundation Stage Coordinator in a primary school. She has also worked within the senior leadership team at Maybury since 2009 and in 2014 she completed her National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH)).

Claire is an outstanding teacher and has been instrumental in developing a highly successful EYFS unit in her current school. Due to the excellent practice that Claire developed and has helped to lead, Maybury’s Foundation Stage were judged outstanding by Ofsted in May 2015.
She has many years’ experience of supporting colleagues within her own school to help them achieve the best possible outcomes for children by ensuring best practice is achieved. Claire also works to provide school to school support to schools across Hull.

This work involves developing Early Years provision and practice, the teaching of phonics, the development of leadership of teaching and learning and the curriculum and also provision for Special Educational Needs and Disabilities.

Clare Hamilton
Clare HamiltonCleeve Primary (Academy)
Clare has 12 years experience of working in the Early Years. She has been the Foundation Stage Leader at Cleeve Primary (Academy) since April 2015.

In 2010 she was appointed as the Early Years Leader at Biggin Hill Primary (Academy) which achieved an outstanding Ofsted grade in 2015.

Clare has worked in a range of settings including independent nursery schools and Children’s Centres.
She has experience of working as an Early Years Standards and Improvements Officer for the Local Authority and supporting schools and PVI settings city wide with a key focus on developing high quality Early Years provision.

Katherine Downing
Katherine DowningCleeve Primary (Academy)
I have been part of Roundabout Nursery since September 2013, I have progressed from working as a Lead Practitioner and Supervisor through to the Business Manager of the Nursery. I am passionate about providing the best quality provision for young children and their families. Throughout my time at the Nursery I have been keen to undertake many training courses and love to learn different theories and approaches in child development.

In July 2014 I gained Early Years Teacher Status and also qualified from my Professional Graduate Certificate (lifelong learning.) In my role at the Nursery I currently cascade and develop training for the Practitioners which I thoroughly enjoy. I am excited to be part of Tidal and would love to continue to develop my professional knowledge along with supporting and sharing practice with others across the City.

Linda Downing
Linda DowningAinthorpe Primary School
I started my own Pre School in 1998 at St Thomas’ Church Hall in Hull, throughout my years as a practitioner I have been keen to embrace change and move our setting forward. This led initially to the nursery opening in a second church hall and from there to developing links with Ainthorpe Primary School and in 2004 opening a modular building on the school site. Throughout the years I have undertaken various training courses as part of my continuous professional development, which have included a Foundation Degree and in 2010 I achieved a First Class BA (Hons) Degree in Early Childhood Education and Care, followed by Early Years Professional Status, and training as a freelance OFSTED Inspector.

The nursery has expanded and is now moving into the Children’s Centre section of the new Ainthorpe Primary School building, as well as keeping the modular building on the site. I am looking forward to being a Lead Practitioner with Tidal and see it as being an opportunity to work with other settings and practitioners, and a new challenge for my professional development, to keep my practice up to date and to broaden my outlook and relationships with other practitioners in the city.