Latest news

STOP PRESS!  Conference/AGM 2017

The date is 4th November, 2017 and the Conference Themes are: Young Children’s Worlds; Early Childhood Professionals for 21st Century Children; Challenges and Opportunities in Early Childhood.  This promises to be an exciting one-day conference (we are having our residential conference in 2018 to celebrate 50 years of TACTYC).  We are, by popular demand, at the ICC in Birmingham again – a brilliant venue as previous delegates will testify. We currently have available on our Conference pages applications for: Discussion Forum, Research Briefing and Posters, due in by the 11th September, 2017.  An application form will be available shortly so don’t forget our ‘early bird’ offers.


More Than a Score will be launching the alternative vision for assessment and accountability at an event on 29 March, which will see Nancy Stewart take the lead.  See here for details and how to register for this free event. Those involved in the campaign are also asking people to contact their MPs via postcards which can be found here.


We are offering students at any level the opportunity to submit a ‘Reflecting on Early Years Issues’ paper to TACTYC to appear on its website. The paper should be between 1500 and 2000 words long (no more), which will then be judged by a panel of early years experts. It should be submitted no later than the 15th July, 2017. The chosen student will receive a year’s free membership of TACTYC and a fee of £200. The best two runners-up papers will also be published on the website. More information here.


Your new Executive list and their roles can be found here.


Bronwen Cohen challenges us all to think about early years in the context of the EU. Getting its Act Together: Why we need stronger EU leadership in developing a common EU framework for Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) she sets out an argument which, we’re sure, will generate much discussion! (Well .. we hope so, anyway!)


It is with great regret that we say goodbye to Dr. Liz Brooker who has been an Editor for the Early Years Journal for many years.  She will be sadly missed as she has given so much to the Journal and to TACTYC over several years: we wish her well in her retirement.  We’re pleased to say that Dr. Jan Georgeson (a previous Assistant Editor and Book Reviews Editor) has taken over the Editor role and we know the Journal is in safe hands.

And we have a new call for papersEarly Childhood Policies in Low- and Middle-Income Countries (Special Issue).  Global attention to the early years has reached unprecedented heights.  As countries scale up early childhood services, what are evidence-based policy strategies to meet the needs of the workforce? To what extent do early childhood policies address or reinforce inequities within and between countries? How are debates around measurement influencing policy efforts to make and monitor progress toward national and international goals? We are interested in papers that go beyond descriptions to include critical analyses of the challenges of formulating and/or implementing policies for young children and their families in low-resource contexts of the global south.

NEWSLETTER 38 can be found here.


It is gratifying to know that the requirements on early years student practitioners for GCSEs has now been dropped.  It just shows that our response to Consultations does (occasionally) bear fruit!

BOOK SERIES – first one published!

The first book in our book series is now published: written by Rory McDowall Clark, it explores in depth ‘readiness’ issues – Exploring the Contexts for Early Learning: Challenging the school readiness agenda (Routledge). It’s a great start to the series and a must for all of those concerned with children starting school.  Four more books are now under contract for our new book series with Routledge and a sixth is in the pipeline.


We shall be launching the Report and Occasional Paper within the next few days so please watch for both appearing on this website!


Now that book reviews no longer appear in the Journal (yes, you’ll have noticed!) we shall be updating our Book Reviews section of the website regularly.  Keep your eyes open here. The latest is Kerry Maddock, British Values and the Prevent Duty in the Early Years: A Practitioner’s Guide (Jessica Kingsley publishers).

TACTYC/BERA presentation

Jan Georgeson, Jane Payler and Elizabeth Wood presented the BERA/TACTYC Academic Review of Early Childhood Education, which brings together specialists in BERA and TACTYC. The aim is to review UK- based research since the 2003 BERA Review, with reflections on international trends. This is a significant task, which will be of interest within and beyond the UK for a range of audiences. More information can be found here.


Reception Baseline Assessment:  Dr. Guy Roberts-Holmes and Dr. Alice Bradbury .  This very topical new Occasional Paper critically analyses the policy context and implementation of Reception Baseline Assessment. The paper reports on a national research sample of Reception staff and parents who stated that Baseline Assessment is a flawed, inappropriate and unethical means of assessing young children. The paper concludes by suggesting that BA can be understood not only as an accountability and governance measure but also as producing new forms of commercialized digital knowledges about young children and their families.


Gareth Betts-Davies and Dr. Sharon Curtis are two of our new co-optees on the Executive as you will have read in Newsletter 37. They have written about themselves  on the Member Profiles page.  Both of them bring a wealth of background and experience to their roles, as  you will be able to read, and we are lucky to have them on the Exec working on members’ behalf.


Childcare survey (Family and Childcare Trust, March).  In this Survey, the FCT reveals that although there is some reprieve for families as nursery prices held steady and childminder prices rose just above inflationt, this will be scarce relief for families who can be spending up to 45 per cent of their disposable income on average childcare costs. Many parents cannot find the childcare they need. In England, only half of areas have enough childcare for parents working full time. Families with disabled children are also likely to struggle: only 18 per cent of areas have enough childcare for them.

Early Education has launched its own Occasional Paper – Establishing the Effects of Quality in Early Childhood: Comparing evidence from England (Prof. Pam Sammons and her team).  The researchers have scrutinised the controversial LSE paper, Quality in Early Years Settings and Children’s School Achievement, and identified a number of serious limitations in the study’s conceptualisation, research design and research methods. They argue that these limitations are so important that the study’s conclusions and apparent policy implications should be treated with great caution.