June O’Sullivan OBE

Chief Executive

June has led the London Early Years Foundation (LEYF) as CEO since 2005.

June is an inspiring speaker, author and regular media commentator on Early Years, social business and child poverty. She has been instrumental in building LEYF into a leading social enterprise, as well as becoming a major pedagogical and cultural influencer for the sector.

June is a published author, with an MA in Primary and Early Childhood Studies and MBA from London South Bank University. In February 2015 she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Middlesex.

June was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Honours in 2013 for services to London’s children and an OBE for services to education in King Charles III’s Honours List in 2023.


Portrait of Mandy CuttlerMandy Cuttler

Head of Pedagogy, Learning and Development

Mandy joined LEYF in 2015 and has worked as a nursery teacher, deputy manager and nursery manager. As Head of Pedagogy, Learning and Development, Mandy leads the high quality delivery of the unique LEYF Pedagogy across our London-based nurseries through training, coaching and mentoring.

Mandy teaches on the NPQEYL, leads on the delivery of the pioneering LEYF Foundation Degree and several of the high quality CPD courses.

Mandy holds a Master’s degree in Early Years Education achieved at the IOE (UCL Institute of Education), a Post-Graduate Certificate in Higher Education and a CIPD in Learning and Development. Mandy is a member of the CIPD and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Her research interests include: workforce development, emotional wellbeing , self-regulation and executive functioning, educational leadership, high quality nursery provision for babies, case study research designs.

For more information, please take a look at some of her published articles.


portrait of Sean CordenSean Cowden

Chef Trainer

Sean joined LEYF in 2022 as the Chef Trainer for our Early Years Chef Academy courses.  In 2019, LEYF established the Early Years Chef Academy to ensure more children are getting the healthy, nutritious food they need to grow and learn, by training chefs to be experts in child nutrition and to help children, staff and parents build healthy habits for life.

Previously Sean has worked as Head Chef in an independent school and was a Training Specialist for Gail’s Bakery.


Nick Corlett

Sustainability Manager

Nick joined LEYF in 2018 as a Senior Nursery Manager focusing on sustainability and through the Green LEYF strategy, a 10-year plan, aims to make LEYF a world leader in Early Years Sustainability.

Nick is the lead trainer on our Level 4 Sustainability in the Early Years Diploma which is the first qualification of its kind in the UK.

Nick has authored articles on Action Research and Men in Childcare amongst others.


Gary Simpson

Senior Programme Manager

Gary joined LEYF in 1994 and has worked across a number of nurseries and Central Office departments.

Gary supports the Learning and Development team to provide training opportunities across nurseries and facilitates and runs many of the LEYF Pedagogy courses for the department.

Gary is the centre lead for LEYF awarding bodies and is the lead assessor for the department. Gary focuses on supporting teachers to understand and be able to put into place the LEYF Pedagogical approach.


Ricky Bullen

Pedagogy Coach

Ricky joined LEYF in 2009 and has worked in six LEYF nurseries. He joined the Learning and Development team in 2019 as a Pedagogy coach.

Ricky provides training in staff meetings, training days and room leader specific sessions. He is also the home-learning lead at LEYF, supporting settings with new and innovative ideas.

Ricky has worked within Early Years for over 20 years, working in a range of services from social services run settings, schools, mothers aid and Early Years provisions. Ricky holds a Foundation degree in Early Years Services.


Michelle Samuels

Apprentice Manager

Michelle joined LEYF in 2002 as an apprentice and is now the Apprentice Manager, focusing on teaching the LEYF teachers of tomorrow. As a former apprentice herself, she wants to ensure the learning experience in both the Apprentice Academy and nurseries is at the peak level. She has devised an enrichment programme that provides the most recent Early Years knowledge but also consolidates learning.

Michelle holds a Foundation Degree in Early Years Services and takes part in several projects to improve quality for apprentices.


Conor Bathgate

Early Years Degree Manager

Conor is a passionate Early Years professional with over 13 years of experience. He began his career at LEYF in 2009 as an apprentice, progressing to Deputy Manager and then Nursery Manager. In 2017, Conor took a career break from LEYF to gain further experience in a range of settings, including working as a field manager and a project officer for a local authority. He returned to LEYF in 2022, working as a degree lecturer.

Conor holds a range of qualifications, including an NVQ Level 3 in Childcare and Education, a Level 3 in Leadership and Management, a BA in Educational Psychology from Birkbeck College, and an MSc in Psychology for Education from UCL. He also holds graduate membership with the British Psychological Society.

Conor leads the management of the degree programme alongside LEYF’s university partners. He also lectures across all degree programme levels, sharing his expertise and passion for Early Years education with students.

Conor’s research interests include: the achievement gap in relation to disadvantage, the home musical environment as a predictor of socio-emotional resilience, and curriculum development and design.

Conor has contributed to published research on Men in Childcare, amongst others. He is currently writing a book chapter on babyhood.


Portrait of Konstantinos SkordasKonstantinos Skordas

Pedagogy Manager

Konstantinos joined LEYF in 2019 as a Nursery Manager and progressed to the Learning and Development team as a Pedagogy coach in 2021 and then Pedagogy Manager in 2023.

Konstantinos teaches on the LEYF degree as well as delivering a range of training, both CPD workshops and externally accredited awards, and supports staff to use this learning to enhance their teaching skills. He continues partnering with nurseries to better understand the LEYF Pedagogy and implement it to their everyday practice.

Konstantinos studied Early Years Education in Greece and then moved to London to continue his studies with a Master’s degree in Education and Technology at UCL. He has been working in Early Years settings and schools since 2009, both in Greece and London.

His research interests include: the use of EdTech in Early Years, gender dynamics in Early Years and how this influences children’s learning experiences, and the Early Years professionals’ perceptions of child development.


Poppie Ephgrave 

Early Years Degree Lecturer

Poppie has worked in the Early Childhood and Education sector for 8 years, working as a teacher and then deputy manager of a large Early Years setting. Poppie lectured part-time at the University of Hertfordshire.

Poppie holds a BA Hons in Early Childhood Education and an MA in Childhood Education and Teaching from University of Hertfordshire.

Her research interests include: critical pedagogy, social justice and mental health education in the Early Years.


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