IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


IOE120: The importance of early years education

25 April 2022, 4:00 pm–5:00 pm

Small boy painting in nursery with yellow fingerprint graphic and 120 roundel

This IOE120 Conversation focuses on the importance of early years and the distinctive contribution of perspectives based on the Department of Learning and Leadership's research.

This event is free.

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In this panel discussion, we hear from a range of academics who discuss the importance of early years education from different perspectives including child development, teacher education, curriculum and assessment, literacy, professional development, leadership and policy, and the value of different early years settings. The panel share aspects of research that they have undertaken in the UK and internationally and discuss key issues for early years education today.

Watch the panel discussion

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About the Department of Learning and Leadership

The Department of Learning and Leadership (DLL) specialises in early years and primary education, educational leadership and education policy. The breadth of the Department's work includes internationally renowned research, outstanding teaching and teacher education, and cutting-edge consultancy and enterprise work. Some examples of its areas of research are: early learning, early years and global childhoods, primary education, national and international education policy, school systems, early literacy, educational leadership and education policy.

Image: Photo by Rashid Sadykov on Unsplash

About the Speakers

Professor Gemma Moss (Chair)

Professor of Literacy and Interim Head of the Department of Learning and Leadership at IOE, Department of Learning and Leadership

Gemma Moss is Professor of Literacy and Interim Head of the Department of Learning and Leadership at IOE. She is interested in the shifting relationships between policymakers, practitioners and stakeholders that are reshaping the literacy curriculum, and the use of research evidence to support policy and practice.

More about Professor Gemma Moss (Chair)

Dr Claire Crawford

Associate Professor at IOE, Department of Learning and Leadership

Dr Claire Crawford is an Associate Professor of Economics in the UCL Centre for Education Policy and Equalising Opportunities and a Research Fellow of the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

Claire’s research focuses on the determinants and consequences of participation in childcare and education, for both children and their families. She is particularly interested in understanding inequalities in these outcomes and how policy can help reduce these gaps.

Claire is a member of the Department for Education’s Skills and Productivity Board and has a strong track record of high impact research, including giving evidence to the House of Commons Education Select Committee and the House of Lords Select Committee on Social Mobility. Her work on higher education access and contextualised admissions was submitted as an impact case study to REF2021 by the University of Warwick.

More about Dr Claire Crawford

Dr Rachael Levy

Associate Professor in Education at IOE, Department of Learning and Leadership

Rachael Levy took up the post of Associate Professor at IOE in February 2019, having spent the previous nine years working at the University of Sheffield. Her research and teaching interests focus on young children’s reading, which include children’s perceptions of reading and factors that influence motivation and engagement with reading. Her most recent research has explored the barriers and motivations to shared reading practices in families living in disadvantage. Rachael is also interested in the influence of gender on children’s attainment and engagement with literacy as well as the implications for opportunities within and beyond the schooling system.

More about Dr Rachael Levy

Dr Trevor Male

Senior Lecturer in Education, Leadership and Management at IOE, Department of Learning and Leadership

Trevor Male is an Associate Professor in the UCL Centre for Educational Leadership where he is Programme Leader for the MBA in Educational Leadership (International). He has now worked in education for almost 50 years, has Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) with the Department for Education and is also a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) in England. He has worked full-time for four universities since 1993 and in previous careers was an officer in a local education authority (1986-93) and a qualified schoolteacher (1973-86). Trevor has many publications in the field of Early Childhood Education and Care, especially on leadership.

More about Dr Trevor Male

Dr Guy Roberts-Holmes

Senior Lecturer in Early Childhood Education at IOE, Department of Learning and Leadership

Guy Roberts-Holmes supervises MA and PhD students in the areas of Early Childhood Education and professional identities, pedagogies and wellbeing. Guy’s research publications are focused around two principal themes: 

  1. The use of a Foucauldian analysis to critically investigate the relationship between neoliberalism’s central values of competition, calculation and choice and the construction of ‘quality’, ‘performativity’, ‘datafication’ and governance within Early Childhood Education (ECE).
  2. The examination of Global Education Reform Movement’s (GERM) ‘market’ logic upon ECE teacher’s professional identities, pedagogy and children’s wellbeing.

Guy's recent book with Professor Peter Moss 'Neoliberalism and Early Childhood Education: Markets, Imaginaries and Governance' (2021, Routledge) has received widespread academic critical acclaim.

More about Dr Guy Roberts-Holmes

Professor Iram Siraj

Professor of Child Development and Education at University of Oxford and Honorary Professor at IOE, Department of Learning and Leadership

Iram Siraj OBE, FAcSS worked at IOE for 23 years before joining Oxford University’s Department of Education in 2018. Iram is an international expert on longitudinal research and policy in early education, she has co-directed a number of world-first influential studies, including the Effective Provision of Pre-school, Primary and Secondary Education (EPPSE, DfE, 1997-2015), the transformative Researching Effective Pedagogy in the Early Years (REPEY, DfE, 2002), and the Effective Leadership in the Early Years Sector (ELEYS) studies and the Effective Early Educational Experiences in Australia (E4Kids, Australian Research Council 2009-2015).

Her recent studies focus on theorising and developing large-scale randomised control trials of evidence-informed professional development interventions looking at the impact of evidence-based professional development in Australia, China, UK and Norway. She has projects on child and adolescent mental health (MRC), leadership in early education in Low- and Middle-Income Countries (World Bank); a British Academy Grant to study the development of refugee pre-schoolers in Malaysia (2019-2021) and has led Education Endowment Foundation maths and language interventions in primary and pre-schools to improve maths and oracy for 3-6-year-olds. She was Technical Advisor to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) pilot International Early Learning and Child Well-being Study advising on child measures. She has three widely used quality rating scales in the cognitive (ECERS-E 4th Ed. 2010), social-emotional (SSTEW, 2015) and physical (MOVERS, 2017) domains. She is the author of over 250 books and journal articles.

More about Professor Iram Siraj

Professor Dominic Wyse

Professor of Early Childhood and Primary Education at IOE, Department of Learning and Leadership

Dominic Wyse FAcSS FRSA is Professor of Early Childhood and Primary Education at the IOE, UCL’s Faculty of Education and Society. He is Founding Director of the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Pedagogy (0-11 Years) (HHCP), a research centre devoted to improving young children’s education. Dominic is also President of the British Educational Research Association (BERA) (2019 – 2022).

The main focus of Dominic’s research is curriculum and pedagogy which includes a sustained contribution to knowledge about teaching writing, reading and creativity. Dominic has extensive experience of working at the interface of research, policy and practice, particularly in relation to his work on national curricula but also including his work on education as an academic discipline. Dominic’s work on reading, writing and curriculum has attracted widespread media attention. His current research projects include Children’s Agency in the National Curriculum (CHANT funded by The Leverhulme Trust).

More about Professor Dominic Wyse