Summaries of conference research
briefings 2 - 3
Some recent publications from
this year’s conference
Dates of next meetings 4
TACTYC’s 2014 Conference and AGM
at the International Convention
Centre, Birmingham, attracted 135
delegates. We hosted the History of
Birmingham Nurseries exhibition and
welcomed a good range of stands in
TACTYC’s President Wendy Scott, Chair
Dr Jane Payler and Executive member
Nancy Stewart opened our Conference
by exploring TACTYC’s recent work on
advocacy and lobbying through the
themes of Creation, Development and
Enactment of Policy, giving a flavour of
where we are now in early years and
where we are heading.
For our first keynote, we welcomed
the team TACTYC commissioned to
research ‘Two year olds in early
childhood settings’: Dr Jan Georgeson,
Dr Gill Boag-Munroe, Dr Verity
Campbell-Barr and Sandra Mathers
gave an overview of the key findings
comprising an account of current
provision from a range of different
early years settings through views,
thoughts and concerns from the
workforce. The report is available on
the website and makes fascinating
reading. Our second speaker Professor
Kathy Hall then gave a most thought
provoking keynote on Networks of the
Mind. Kathy spoke about the power of
the ‘new net of neuroscience’ in
influencing recent policies in early
childhood, but she warned of the
danger inherent in seeing early
childhood as the critical period rather
than recognising the brain’s plasticity
throughout the lifespan.
We enjoyed a busy AGM before
lunchtime, then conference delegates
attended a range of workshops on
Comments from delegates
‘Very thought provoking’
‘Feeling empowered to stand up for
the rights of children’
‘The keynote speakers – their
breadth of research – all brilliant’
‘Current topics that challenge my
‘A great event – thank you’
‘Nourishment of the mind’
Conference 2014: ‘Successful Pedagogy:
Advocating for Strong Evidence to Support
Workshop 1 - Play Discussion Forum:
‘Play – the ultimate challenge for
practitioners’. Janet Moyles,
Professor Emeritus, Anglia Ruskin
Janet began by focusing on the child’s
perspective, referring to rich play as
‘pure’ play, ‘initiated and led by
children and sustained and developed
by them for their purposes’. Since
pure play ‘requires a very open-ended
planning system by the adults’, Janet
raised the question whether this is
achievable in educational settings and
highlighted ‘playful learning’ and
‘playful teaching’ as possible
alternatives. Janet concluded her
presentation by raising a number of
questions about play in education.
‘Child’s play? Does ‘subject’ learning
have a role in pretend play?’ Maulfry
Worthington, VU University,
Amsterdam and the international
Children’s Mathematics Network.
Maulfry provided rich examples of
pretend play from her current
doctoral research, evidencing young
children’s mathematical interests and
their impromptu graphical
communications of mathematics and
writing in their free and spontaneous
pretend play. The findings challenge
TACTYC NEWSLETTER 32 page 2
Conference research briefings: full papers from the Conference can be found on the
Reflections part of the website
current views of ‘planned play’ and ’skills-
based’ mathematics or literacies,
showing that cultural understandings are
exhibited not through narrow curriculum
targets, but through children’s desire to
communicate their thinking. ’Pure’
pretend play can provide meaningful
locations of semiotic and ‘subject’
explorations, but its ownership should
rest with the children.
Workshop 2: Journeys through Practice.
'Are we there yet? Level 3 Early Years
students’ journey to becoming
practitioners.’ Helen Perkins, Head of
School - Early Years and Childhood
Studies, Solihull College.
Helen’s presentation explored the
practices, attitudes, knowledge and
experience that sixteen to nineteen year-
old, full time, level 3 Early Years students
acquire during their course. She posed
several questions relating to the role of
the Early Years Practitioner; the
knowledge, skills, attitudes and
dispositions required so that at 18 years
of age, they are ready to meet the
demands of policy and employer
expectations. Helen concluded by listing a
number of emerging findings.
‘Making reflective practice more
effective practice: deepening the
process of reflection to improve the
quality of teaching and learning in an
early years setting.’ Hilary Smith, Bath
Spa University and Lucy Driver, Head
Teacher, St Paul’s Nursery School and
Children’s Centre, Bristol.
Lucy and Hilary presented their
collaborative action-research project,
conducted at a Bristol nursery school
and children’s centre. Its aim was to
deepen reflective practice in the
setting, in order to improve responsive
planning and subsequent learning
outcomes for children. As a result of
the project, the researchers’ aims were
realised with staff subsequently
developing their own model of
reflection to use as a framework for
responsive planning, and now provide
training on reflective practice to other
early years settings.
‘Does our preparation of early years
students for work-based learning
(WBL) align with practitioners’
expectations?’ Nicola Stobbs and
Jackie Musgrave, Lecturer in Early
Childhood, Institute of Education,
University of Worcester.
Nicola provided an account of joint
research she had undertaken in
collaboration with Jackie Musgrave, in
response to what they could see was a
gulf between students’ and
practitioners’ expectations of one
another when engaged in work-based
learning. Several key themes emerged
from their data: practitioners valued
initiative and intuition; students
sometimes struggled to make the move
from pupil to practitioner and that
students were unprepared for
TACTYC NEWSLETTER 32 page 3
negotiating work relationships
between colleagues in settings.
Workshop 3: Learning Together. ‘The
significance of relational pedagogy to
young children’s speech, language
and communication development.’ Dr
Dr Carolyn Blackburn, Centre for
Research in Education, Birmingham
Carolyn presented findings from her
PhD, which was concerned with the
policy-to-practice context to the delays
and difficulties in the acquisition of
speech, language and communication
[SLC] in the first five years. The study
highlighted the difficult and subjective
nature of early identification and
assessment, economic and socio-
cultural environments, and the wide
variations in diverse features of their
‘CPD for teaching assistants.
Encouraging competence or ensuring
performance?’ Dr Sally Neaum,
Teeside University, Middlesbrough.
Sally’s paper considered the
substantial increase ‘in the number of
teaching assistants (TAs) in school,
many of whom are now working in a
pedagogical role’. One of the
conclusions of this research is that
‘knowledge based CPD has the
potential for deep learning’, impacting
‘on their confidence, practice, role and
some early evidence of an impact on
Workshop 4: Young Children in
their Settings. ‘How can
practitioners support and include
children with chronic medical
conditions in early years settings?’
Dr Jackie Musgrave, Institute of
Education, University of Worcester.
Jackie reflected ‘on the possible
implications for children with
chronic medical conditions in the
early years’, questioning ‘whether
excluding children in the Foundation
Stage from the aims of the
legislation may lead to inequality in
care and education because the
health needs of such children may
be over-looked’. Concluding her
research, she emphasised that this
needs to be addressed ‘in order to
reduce the possible discriminatory
effect on young children’.
‘Young Children as Experts in Early
School Transitions.’ Megan Taddeo,
University of Winchester.
Megan’s research explored the
perceptions of children who have
recently moved to Year One about
their experiences of transition. It
forms part of a doctoral study and
builds on a Masters study that
explored how the same children
viewed their transit from pre-school
to school and their contribution to
supporting other young children
undergoing a similar transition.
Implications include differences in
pedagogy the children highlighted
between the Foundation Stage and
Key Stage One, including increasing
adult ‘controlled’ structuring and
attendant shifts of power that
accompany children’s transit
Workshop 5 - Discussion Forum: 2-
year-olds in early childhood
settings, Dr Jan Georgeson, Dr Gill
Boag-Munroe, Dr Verity Campbell-
Barr, Sandra Mathers. Plymouth
University and Oxford University.
TWO-YEAR-OLDS in England: an
Stage Two Report: Workforce
Survey and Regional Case Studies.
This study was funded by TACTYC.
The presentation of the report can
be found here:
Gill Boag-Munroe. 2014. ‘Parents as
partners’: the new politics of
parenting. In J. Moyles, J. Payler and J.
Georgeson. Eds. 2014. Early Years
Foundations: Critical Issues.
Maidenhead: Open University Press.
Campbell Barr, V., C. Leeson and D.
Ho. 2013. The quest for quality early
childhood education and care:
leadership in a changing political
context in England and Hong Kong, in
Georgeson J; Payler J International
Boag-Munroe, G. Parents as
partners: the new politics of
parenting. In J. Georgeson and J.
Payler. 2013. International
Perspectives on Early Childhood
Education and Care. Maidenhead:
Open University Press.
Carpenter, B., C. Blackburn and J.
Egerton. Eds. 2013. Fetal Alcohol
Georgeson, J. and J. Payler. 2013.
international Perspectives on Early
Childhood Education and Care.
Maidenhead Open University
Kendall.A., D. Carey., A. Crampand
H. Perkin. 2012. Barriers and
solutions to HE progression for
Early Years’ practitioners.
Journal of Vocational Education
and Training. Vol. 64, Issue 7.
Moyles, J., J. Payler and J.
Georgeson. 2014. Early years
Foundations: Critical Issues.
Maidenhead: Open University
Musgrave, J. and N. Stobbs. 2015.
(In press). Early Years Placements.
St Albans: Critical Publishing Ltd.
page 4 TACTYC NEWSLETTER 31
The dates for Executive Committee meetings in 2015 will be:
16th January; 20th March; 18th June and 25th September.
- // -
If you’ve items you’d like to raise with the Executive, please contact
Jane in good time before the meetings so that these can be placed
on the agenda.
Musgrave, J. 2013. Good Practice
for the Welfare of the Child. In
Beckley, P. (Ed) The New Early Years
Foundation Stage: Changes,
Challenges and Reflections.
Maidenhead: Oxford University
Mathers, S., F. Roberts, F., and K.
Sylva, K. (In press). Quality in Early
Childhood Education. In G. Pugh and
B. Duffy. Contemporary Issues in
the Early Years, Sixth Edition.
London: Sage Publications.
Smith H. 2011. The Emotional
Impact of Transition: what can be
learned from early years practice in
A. Howe and V. Richards. Eds.
Bridging the Transition from
Primary to Secondary School.
Waugh, D., S. Neaum and R. Waugh.
2013. Children’s Literature in
Primary Schools. Lon don: Sage
Worthington, M. 2014. (In press).
Mathematics and the ecology of
pretend play. In J. Moyles, Ed.
Fourth Edition. The Excellence of
Play. Maidenhead: Open University
Hall, K., A. Curtin and V.
Rutherford. 2014. Networks of
Mind: Learning, Culture,
This is a new publication from
Professor Kathy Hall and
colleagues. Kathy’s keynote speech
‘Our nets define what we catch?
Learning in early childhood’ drew
directly on this work, regarded as a
groundbreaking book, unique in
bringing together two perspectives
on learning - sociocultural theory
and neuroscience. Drawing on both
perspectives, it foregrounds
important developments in our
understanding of what learning is,
where and how learning occurs
and what we can do to understand
learning as an everyday process.
It demonstrates how
sociocultural ideas (such as the
relevance of experience,
opportunity to learn, environment,
personal histories, meaning,
participation, memory, and feelings
of belonging) align with and reflect
upon new understandings
emerging from neuroscience.
A selection of recent publications from conference presenters