Articles and publications

Kindness – the tough choice

By | May 18, 2021

We talk a lot about being kind. But less about what this means in how we behave. As we face increasing tensions – in our organisations, in society and in our personal lives what does it mean to be kind? And why do we view kindness as an act of weakness? A short personal view on 9 practical steps to be kind. #charity #leadership #kindness #society

Locked Down and Local

By | January 10, 2021

Lockdown is hard. Harder than the summer. Let’s not pretend that it isn’t. Some of the challenges are common to us all. Others are unique to our own homes and families. And we don’t all have the same capacity to… Read More »

Getting Outside Matters

By | October 6, 2020

Getting Outside Matters Whether big adventures or standing outside the front door and looking up at the stars the restorative nature of nature and the outdoors is well known. – As part of my work on access I am delighted… Read More »

Diversifying Trustee Boards – a real time example

By | July 23, 2020

YHA strategic priority is to ensure access, inclusion and diversity across all of our work. To ensure that our charitable resources are for all.

To be certain that access for all means all — that those who stay with us, benefit from our provision and support, our employees and volunteers, reflect the demographics of England and Wales.

Key Performance Indicator from YHA Strategy 10 Year Strategy; Adventure for the first time and for a lifetime

And this indicator for success includes our trustee board. Trustees set the strategic direction for a charity and are responsible for the organisation’s assets. Recruiting new trustees is an important part of charity success and ensuring that trustees have both a rounded skill set and diverse lived experiences are repeatedly evidenced as factors in charity effectiveness. Diversity, access, inclusion and equity are not just morally right they are business critical.

Jumping in the sea – for every child

By | July 14, 2020

I love this picture. 7 year old seeing the sea for first time after lockdown. Absolute freedom. And very wet trainers 20 seconds later.

Trips matter. Experiences matter. Stays away from home matter. It matters that we live on an island and thousands of children reach secondary school having never seen the sea. Yes really.

So as the Department for Education allows day activities and trips but continues to stress the absolute priority for ‘academic catch-up’; and some schools are having to narrow their academic curriculum because of the resources needed to support social distancing; with government guidance still advising against residentials – what can we do to ensure that the gap in experiences between those who have easy access and those that don’t doesn’t continue to increase?

Loving the Local

By | June 30, 2020

The concept of the 15 minute city predated Coronavirus but – as in many things- the pandemic has brought this thinking to the fore. What does this mean for individuals, for charities and communities?

Kids Adventure Books – Spark Their Imagination

By | June 8, 2020

It’s devastating to know that over 500,000 young people are missing out on their first residential this year. And as much as parents across the globe have taken on the task of home schooling, it’s safe to say that outdoor learning is going to be a part of the recovery for children and young people as we move back to a more ‘normal’ way of life. In the meantime though, it’s important that we engage them with colourful ideas for planning future adventures, connect them with wildlife and excite them with endless possibilities to explore the world around them.

YHA – what does it mean to be a charity in the decisions that we make?

By | May 4, 2020

We are now just over a month into the lockdown and two months since the Coronavirus started to dominate every aspect of our lives.

I have written here about the what this means for YHA strategy in this piece on Strategy in an Unknown Future and on the charity’s increasing relevance in helping recovery as families are clear on the importance of the outdoors and holidays to their well-being.

But ahead of longer term planning I want to take some time to reflect on YHA’s work over recent weeks. Because – I say with clear bias – it has been an astounding effort true to both our charity values but also our position as a successful and strong social enterprise.

Strategy in an unknown future

By | April 21, 2020

Job titles are tricky sometimes. I am Executive Director of Strategy and Engagement at YHA. Kind of long, little bit poncey and nobody understands it. It needs work.

It is – I have discovered over the years in various roles – particularly challenging to describe the strategy bit. For some it’s combining the vision of the ideal with the art of the possible. For others it’s the dark arts.

Collecting creatives for adventures

By | April 13, 2020

Outdoor adventures. From running away from waves to climbing a mountain; to noses in the mud following a worm to the first time you fell out of a tree. For many of us our most vivid childhood memories come from exploring outdoors. And the benefits of the outdoors are well evidenced. On health and well being, On learning. On creativity, resilience and ‘character’. And just for fun.

But also – and yes it is dramatic input – our survival as a species requires the next generation to be connected to the planet; to the outdoors, to nature and to the environment. But access to the outdoors is not equitable. Money, access, fear of risk, disability – many things stand in the way. And we know it is often those who might benefit the most from adventure in the outdoors that have the least opportunity to benefit from its powers.

OS Outdoor Champion

By | April 9, 2020

Oh the irony. Being announced as an Ordnance Survey Get Outside Champion in the week the entire world is being told to stay indoors. And stay in we must – the latest government guidance is clear on Stay In: Protect NHS: Save Lives. So what is the role of a Get Outside Champion in lockdown?

Accessing landscapes – the Glover challenge

By | February 6, 2020

I was fortunate to be at a presentation on the Glover Review with input from the review lead himself. Much to like. And – as someone who leads on access and inclusion – the call to action to make ensure that public assets – the National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) – are truly ‘for all’ was welcome. But when asked a question on how to open access the panel were heartfelt in their desire to affect change but limited on the solutions.

Residentials – unlocking the potential

By | January 9, 2020

As we enter 2020 I have set a resolution across all of my work to ensure every child gets a residential experience – at least once at primary age and once at secondary. In truth these experiences should be annual – whether through schools, youth work or other routes – but let’s start small (ish).

Working, as a parent of a disabled child – the supersized juggle

By | January 4, 2020

When our third child is weeping with anxiety, clinging to the banisters and begging us to not to send him to school today our hearts break. For him and his pain. For his siblings now late. For the school that he loves and is doing such a good job helping him manage his panic attacks. But also, the thought that goes through our heads is less generous but just as vital – panic as we start to rearrange our day where one or both of us will be either late or off work.


By | November 22, 2019

‘Hard to reach’. ‘Disadvantaged’. ‘Lacking aspiration’. ‘Poverty of ambition’. Bored. Bored of the stereotypes. The judgements and the deficit model. The lazy assumptions about communities by postcodes. My boys playing in the garden of one of those postcodes. The house… Read More »

A free pass for families

By | October 22, 2019

I love the National Trust. Kids ran riot in several of their properties over the summer (sorry). And I was struck by their inclusion in this pretty sensible list of money saving tips for children’s holiday adventures.
Indeed, National Trust and other membership schemes can present great value. Below are some examples of passes that could be included in list. This makes no statement about how family friendly they are or the value they present. But for many – regardless of value per visit – they are still unaffordable.

Family friendly venues

By | October 22, 2019

As we look at access to cultural capital – to nature, arts, heritage, sports and the broadest range of social and enrichment experiences – we know that many families stand on the periphery. While there are – reasonable and important – ongoing debates about whose culture is valued, the reality is that there are many families who do not get the same access to public or charitably funded resources as their peers. The reasons for this are multiple and while some are complex and need further exploration the reality is that there are a number of simple steps that settings and providers could take that would enable a broader range of families to access their services.

Every Child Should be Resilient

By | July 27, 2019

Resilience is currently a bit of a toxic word currently. The idea that we need to build young people’s resilience to ‘survive’ some of society’s contemporary challenges has hints of ‘victim’ blaming. Living in poverty – toughen up. Experienced trauma – develop grit. Mental illness – not strong enough. This is not where Every Child Should is coming from.

Princely Manhood and Character

By | May 30, 2019

Following the launch of Hinds’ character education consultation in this blog Anita provides 10 points to consider about character, including a historic look at a similar debate – for all you fine gentlemen!

Pin the tail on the blame donkey

By | May 13, 2019

It’s been a series of rapid releases in education. I have had a lot of requests to write a response and to date I have struggled. And it’s taken me a while to figure out why. I have realised it’s because the general response from the education system has been – well – broadly ‘pin the tail on the blame donkey’.

Blog: School Exclusion – the story so far

By | March 14, 2019

Blog: School Exclusion – the story so far
As the DfE announce a review of school exclusions Anita Kerwin-Nye reflects on the evidence and prevailing thoughts surrounding the issue of informal exclusions. This blog provides a good leap off point for anyone wanting to get an overview.

Freelancers – education’s gig economy

By | February 8, 2019

There’s one group of people who are likely to provoke a lively response in a teacher led pub debate. No not HMIs. Not even Education Ministers. Consultants. For some on social media it has become the ultimate ad hominin. To read articles you’d think contractors and consultants were single handedly bringing down education.

Why the Outdoors

By | October 8, 2018

A blog on EveryChildShould on the importance of the outdoors. In the blog Anita reflects on her personal reasons for believing in the benefits of the outdoors, and invites you to reflect on what the outdoors means to you.

Supporting Teachers to Lead Practice

By | June 26, 2018

Last week I attended the last session of this year’s A New Direction Advocates. This programme supports teachers of the arts to lead learning in both their own schools and across the system. As this group of Advocates – some of whom I had the privilege to have worked with for 3 years – presented their work I was struck by quality, passion and impact of their projects.

How many men does it take to steal the credit from a difficult woman?

By | June 14, 2018

I thought hard about writing this blog. I really did. I’ve been warned – a lot – not to stick my head above the parapet. To keep my head down. Not to make any waves. And – honestly – I considered it. Being labelled a difficult woman – a trouble maker – is career threatening. Even more so perhaps when like me and over a million women you are self employed and reputation is what you trade on.

Whole School SEND

By | April 2, 2018

The current Department for Education SEND Workforce Contract ends this week and the new contract holder is to be announced. As a consultant I am remarkably proud of the part I played in securing and delivering this work with and on behalf of both London Leadership Strategy and NASEN. £5million is a considerable consultancy fundraising win and successfully implementing something of this scale to effect such change is something I am glad to have led.

Is Exclusion Education’s Haiti?

By | February 19, 2018

“Yes we know it happens. ‘They’ choose the children who get the best results and ‘they’ find ways to lose the others. But that’s just the way it is. They are being pragmatic. It’s not something that can change and nobody will sign up to this. Besides schools are allowed to select in some ways.”

Teachwire – February 2018

By | February 13, 2018

Teachwire – February 2018
Anita Kerwin-Nye asks ‘was the Children’s Commissioner’s report on vulnerable children the most important of 2017?’ in her teachwire article: Vulnerable Children – Who are They, and How do we Best Offer Support with Scarce Resources?

Every child a bank account?

By | February 6, 2018

As part of our work on Every Child Should we have been talking to young people and those that work with them and reviewing many reports on what children and young people should have achieved and experienced by the time they leave school.

Turning the page for adventure

By | February 6, 2018

Part of my work over 2018 through Every Child Should is to look at the importance of outdoor learning and connections to nature for every child. My own personal experiences as a lover of adventurous activities, combined with the work I have done over the years with organisations that work in this field, has shown me the value of this work on well-being and happiness.

Young Academy

By | February 2, 2018

It is both a privilege and great learning to sit on the Young Academy Investment Committee. The aims of the Academy are simple: …

The Communication Trust – what next?

By | January 30, 2018

With the news in recent days of the of potential closure of The Communication Trust (TCT) – a consortium that I led the set up of in 2007 – I have been reflecting on both the challenges and successes of the Trust over the last 10 years.

Schools Week – January 2018

By | January 2, 2018

The strength of consortiums in affecting change is a core principle of Every Child Should. As is the belief that all children should be included in all aspects of education. In her recent piece for Schools Week Anita Kerwin-Nye talks about the change affected by Whole School SEND in the battle for inclusion.

Children in Need 2017

By | November 20, 2017

“Anyone else watching #childreninneed & wondering why people have to fundraise for things that our most vulnerable children should get from the state?”
Turns out from this throwaway Friday night tweet that – yes – quite a lot of people.