I have been involved in different phases of education for over 25 years and joined the OU in 2019 as a lecturer on the MA in Education programme after 13 years working on a range of Education programmes at Bishop Grosseteste University in Lincoln. Originally an early years and primary teacher and senior leader for EYFS and Literacy in schools in Cornwall, Slough and Buckinghamshire, I later became a Lead Practitioner for Early Years and then an Area SENCO where my role was to train and support early years settings with SEN provision in Slough. I worked with multi-agency teams across education, health and social care to provide referral, advice and training for the maintained, private, voluntary and independent Early Years education sector. My interest in research and high-quality pedagogy led me to study the first modules of my MA in Education with the OU which helped me to begin my career in Higher Education. In 2006, I joined Bishop Grosseteste University in Lincoln where I contributed to initial teacher training in curriculum and pedagogy for the EYFS, KS1, Literacy, inclusion, PSHE and cultural and linguistic diversity. I provided school experience supervision and mentoring training across the Primary phases. In this role, I led Literacy in ITT for several years and organised the 'Leading partners in Literacy' project to develop collaborative practice with schools in ITT at BGU funded by the TDA. I also co-ordinated 'Poetry Train' in conjunction with the Poetry Society to support trainee teachers' confidence and strategies for poetry teaching. You can read more about this at: http://poetrysociety.org.uk/education/poetry-train/
Following my experience of the Primary PGCE programme I gained a role as a Senior Lecturer for the Education Studies undergraduate Programme at Bishop Grosseteste University and later became Programme Leader. I led modules on Education policy and curriculum, research methods and language and literacy in education. I am motivated to develop student-centred innovative practice in HE and I created a collaborative research module in which students and staff worked together on practitioner research and publication as co-inquirers. I am also a passionate advocate for children’s literature and have involved students in enrichment experiences such as shadowing the UKLA children’s book awards and arranging for visiting authors to contribute to undergraduate and postgraduate programmes.
My research interests include early years pedagogy and transitions, early years and Primary Literacy, pre-primary provision in lower income countries as well as mentoring and academic literacies in HE and ITT. I gained my PhD from the University of Leicester in October 2016. My doctoral study focused on the development of student teachers’ and newly qualified teachers’ knowledge and practice for teaching early reading. This was influenced by a cultural historical activity theory perspective on learning and considered tensions between policy and practice experienced by trainee teachers as well as challenges presented by the history of debate about teaching early reading. Since then, I have conducted funded research into expert consensus for the training of ECD cadres at scale in collaboration with an international team of early years researchers as well as contributing to a mapping study of UNICEF interventions in South Asia in connection with the pre-primary framework areas. More recently, I have been working on a small-scale study of undergraduate students acting as near-peer mentors for Year 12 students from under-represented backgrounds in HE. I am currently conducting a case study of an unusual approach to transition and inclusion for pupils from EYFS to Year 1.
As a new member of the Master’s in Education team my current role is as a lecturer on the Inclusive Practice pathway. This involves working with the team to develop new online content and to support with the role of Module Chair. I hope to be part of the EdD supervisory team and work across other Master’s in Education modules in production and presentation in due course. I am working with other team members on the PDP and reflective practice activities for students linked to Master’s module developments. Before joining the OU I had recently developed a Master’s programme in Children’s Literature and Literacies in collaboration with colleagues from English, Education Studies, Early Childhood Studies and BA Primary QTS and the Library.
I have been a member of the United Kingdom Literacy Association for many years and have been involved in their digital literacy SIG and student shadowing of the UKLA book awards. I am also an affiliated Fellow of the Lincoln Higher Education Research Institute. I have most recently worked with the National Collaborative Outreach Programme in the East Midlands to provide Year 12 students with experience of research in Higher Education and near-peer mentoring from undergraduate students.
I have collaborated on research into training for Early Childhood Development cadres for the UK Department for International Development with colleagues from the University of Hong Kong, McGill University, Canada, University College Londonnand the University of Nebraska College of Public Health. This involved canvassing the opinions of 14 global experts comprising wide experience and expertise related to ECD cadres training. The panel included individuals with extensive front-line experience in training ECD cadres across diverse, low-resource contexts spanning the world regions, including East, Central, South and Southeast Asia and the Pacific; Central, Eastern and Southern Africa, and South America. Experts occupied senior leadership positions across leading international non-governmental organisations and academic institutions and / or contribute to global policy setting via membership of key steering committees. I have also liaised with frontline staff from UNICEF regional offices in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, the Maldives, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, as part of a mapping study of pre-primary interventions for UNICEF. I have recently been named as a partner in establishing a new ECED network of academics, practitioners, NGOs and INGOs seeking to tackle persistent, critical gaps in the global field of ECED (Early Childhood Education and Development) through a radical reshape of current approaches to understanding and researching issues that affect young children, their families and communities. Adopting multi-disciplinary, multisectoral approaches, the network aims to involve academics from multiple Schools within The University Of Sheffield Faculty of Social Sciences and School of Health Sciences, the Open University (UK), the Aga Khan University (Pakistan), the Aga Khan Foundation (AKF), DFID, UNICEF, UNESCO, The Open Society Foundations (OSF), ChildFund and the Asia Pacific Regional Network for Early Childhood (ARNEC), in establishing a shared agenda for research across a range of contexts linked to the three Global Challenge areas of Sustainable health and well-being; Inclusive and equitable quality education, and Clean air, water and sanitation.