The conference was opened by a speech from Adam Ingram MSP, Minister for Children and Early Years in the Scottish Government

Tam Baillie, Commissioner for Children and Young People in Scotland. Former director of policy for Barnardo's Scotland, worked as a manager and practitioner with young offenders, young people in or leaving care, and young homeless. Has extensive experience of Scottish Government and Scottish Parliament processes and is chair of the Scottish Alliance for Children's Rights.

Prof. Tina Bruce CBE, Roehampton University, School of Education. Social learning and Froebel. Argues that the best way to prepare children for their adult lives by giving them what they need as children, as whole people who have feelings, ideas and relationships with others, and who need to be physically, mentally, morally and spiritually healthy. She has special interest and knowledge of education for early years in Scotland.

Dr. Harry Burns, Chief Medical Officer (CMO), the Scottish Government's principal medical adviser, and Head of the Scottish Medical Civil Service. He develops health policy in Scotland, including prevention, health promotion, health protection and harm reduction, covering issues ranging from public health policy to NHS operations. Holds a Visiting Professorship in Public Health Medicine, University of Glasgow and is a Senior Research Fellow in the School of Business and Management in the University.

Detective Chief Superintendent John Carnochan, Head of the Violence Reduction Unit, Glasgow, a national centre of expertise on tackling violent crime. Finds that violence in families and society may be reduced by education in early years, including the provision of support to parents who need it, giving young men in particular non-cognitive life skills that will permit them to get jobs and deal with their lives without resorting to violence.

Prof. Aline-Wendy Dunlop, Chair of Childhood and Primary Studies, University of Strathclyde and a Vice-President of the British Association for Early Child Education. Aline-Wendy's leadership in research and teaching is based on the foundation of her experience as an early childhood teacher, she aims to influence the education and development, practice and policy through applied educational research. Research in educational transitions throughout schooling, the experiences of families with very young children and early childhood pedagogy inform these leadership aims.

Dr. Ingela Naumann, Social Policy, University of Edinburgh. Expert in policy and politics of childcare and early childhood education in international and historical perspective, particularly in Sweden, Germany and the UK. Points to the interconnections of changing welfare arrangements around employment, education and care. Concerned that the internationally emerging social investment paradigm in policy-making holds potential for positive as well as negative effects on the lives and aspirations of young children and their parents.

Alan Sinclair, Work Foundation. Was Senior Director for Skills and Learning in Scottish Enterprise, and Chief Executive of the Wise Group that pioneered ways of getting long term unemployed people into jobs. Member of the Scottish New Deal Task Force and the UK Advisory Group on the New Deal. An economist interested in early years work as the solution to contemporary problems including social exclusion, crime and the lack of employees' soft skills increasingly noted by employers. He thinks the quality of parenting is a society-wide problem in Scotland, with effects in prosperity and achievement.

Prof. Colwyn Trevarthen, Professor (Emeritus) of Child Psychology and Psychobiology at the University of Edinburgh. Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, a Vice-President of the British Association for Early Child Education. Believes psychological science, society and administrative bodies should give more value to the creative and cooperative motives of infants and young children, their importance for the happiness and well-being of families, communities, and nations, and the suffering caused if they are frustrated. Research shows that well-run nursery schools with experienced staff strengthen these vital motives, encouraging a creative and cooperative local community, with lasting social benefits.

Dr. Suzanne Zeedyk, Senior Lecturer in Developmental Psychology, University of Dundee. Publishes and lectures on early childhood and the societal benefits of supporting families, parents, and children. She aims to help all understand that babies come into the world already emotionally connected to other people, and that their brain development is shaped by how they are received by others. The way we relate to babies matters for them and for us, touching on issues as diverse as daycare, gang violence, mental health, and baby buggies. In making decisions about parenting, and about supporting parents, we make choices about the kind of world we wish to build.


Lesley Riddoch, Scottish broadcaster, journalist and commentator, chaired and animated the concluding discussion. She writes and broadcasts about Scottish childhood, the value of good early education, and social deprivation affecting families of young children.