Latest news

OCCASIONAL PAPER 10 now online

Julian Grenier has written an excellent new paper which you’ll find here entitled: ‘Collaborative quality improvement’ – a way forward for England’s maintained nursery schools? in which explores one possible future for nursery schools: as the leaders of quality improvement for the whole of the early years sector in England.

STUDENT REFLECTIONS AWARD – read the winning entry here

Congratulations to Emma Bailey (winner) and to Jaime-Lee King and Amy Perkins (runners up) for their thought-provoking papers entered for the TACTYC Student Reflections Award.  Emma Bailey’s entry for the Student Reflections Award considers why, when we know how important play is for young children’s development, there are limited opportunities in practice for genuinely child-led play. Emma considers some of the barriers and provides a Play Policy template for other settings to adapt for their own use.


We are always seeking new members with a range of early years skills and talents – why not join us today and be part of this dynamic Association?  Membership Application form here.


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.  TACTYC is delighted to present this specially designed conference for those working with early years children. Following on from the highly successful conferences of previous years, we now turn our attention to young children’s identities, diversity and equality in the 21st Century. Delegates will go away with much more confidence about children’s and practitioners’ experiences and understandings about these important issues. We are, by popular demand, back at the ICC in Birmingham again – a brilliant venue as previous delegates will testify. On our Conference pages you will find an Application Form plus information about applying to take part in: Discussion Forum, Research Briefing and Posters.   AND THE GOOD NEW IS …. the submission deadline is now the 1st October, 2017 – we thought some of you would appreciate a little more time!

Here’s a draft programme for the conference.  We also have a Twitter page for the Conference so do have a look – #MeYouUs!

Book your ticket here. AND this year your can pay via PayPal!


ECF steering group members Anne Nelson and Kathryn Solly will be presenting a discussion-based training day on ‘Quality in Diversity – A Child’s Journey’ in Oxford on 2nd  November,  2017. The Venue is the King’s Centre, Oxford and all delegates will receive a copy of the joint ECF/NCB 100 page publication which is a framework of children’s learning for early years practitioners.£100 but with limited availability. To book, visit:


BERA-TACTYC Early Childhood Research Review 2003-2017:  In 2013, TACTYC: (then chaired by Jane Payler) and the BERA Early Childhood Special Interest Group (then convened by Elizabeth Wood) came together to co-lead a research-focused collaboration to produce policy advice (2014) and to revisit and update the 2003 BERA research review. This 2017 review considers research findings from UK research since 2003 pertaining to five themes and their policy contexts;

  • Professionalism: early years as a career
  • Parents and families
  • Play and pedagogy
  • Learning, development and the curriculum
  • Assessment and school readiness

The age range of the 2017 Review is birth-to-seven-years. The review team has drawn on systematic approaches to produce a rigorous academic review that reflects current positions in each of the themes. Click on the title to access the review and a summary document .

Dr. Jane Murray and Dr. Rory McDowall Clark have written an excellent brief Summary of this research for Children and Young People Now.

TACTYC BOOK SERIES: Research informed professional development for the early years

You can now access all information about our exciting series here. Enjoy


Primary assessment in England: Government consultation – TACTYC’s response to this consultation can be found here.  We have also posted  comment from Better Without Baseline (in conjunction with TACTYC)  here.


Our TACTYC colleague, Prof. Margaret Clark, continues her well-informed campaign against synthetic phonics.  She has now turned her attention to the situation in Australia where they are, against all their best early years principles, set to introduce the phonics test like England.  Her latest piece can be found here.


We have a new book review – Gilliam and Gulløv (2017) Children of the Welfare State: Civilising practices in schools, childcare and families, full details of which can be found here.


The findings from our latest research, undertaken by Professor Jayne Osgood and her colleagues at University of Middlesex, and the full Report is now available on this website. It makes very interesting reading as does the associated Occasional Paper 9. We are grateful to Jayne and her colleagues for their work and intend to get the outcomes from this research into the public domain over the next few weeks.


We have welcomed Helen Bilton, Associate Professor at University of Reading, to our Executive Committee this year and you can read about her on our Member Profiles pages.  These seem to be popular within the website statistics so why not tell us about YOU?


We are pleased to have two new reflections papers: Linda Withey on observation of rough and tumble play and practitioners’ views about it – When we look, what do we see? and Caroline Guard ‘You’ve got a secret smile and you use it only for me’: infants’ intentional communication within the home.  These are very different but both fascinating papers, well worth a read!


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.


Nurturing ‘buds of development’: from outcomes to opportunities in early childhood practice (Hayes, N. and Filipovic, K. 2017, International Journal of Early Years Education). Increasingly policy support for early childhood education is built around an emphasis on preparing children for school and preparing future citizens to become productive members of society.This paper calls for a shift in policy and pedagogical discourse from assessing outcomes towards providing rich, day-to-day learning opportunities.

‘Teaching 4 & 5 years old: The Hundred Review in to the Reception Year in England’ was published on 22nd May 2017. It is a comprehensive, wide ranging and evidence based review of current practice. It explores the issues and challenges faced by YR teachers and provides recommendations for supporting effective pedagogy and good outcomes for children. You can read the report here.

Education Select Committee report on Primary Assessment (May 2017). This report from the House of Commons Education Select Committee finds that assessment is closely linked to the accountability system in primary schools, with Key Stage 2 results used to hold schools and teachers to account on the progress and attainment of pupils. The committee supports the introduction of an improved progress measure, but the Government must be cautious if a baseline measurement is introduced.

Pie, fry, why: Language play in three- to five-year-old children (Read, K., James, S. and Weaver, A. (2017) Journal of Early Childhood Research). This study examined the relationship between four common types of language play and their correlations with the verbal and social abilities of three- to five-year-old children. Results indicated that, while children’s peer interaction scores were not related to their play scores, children’s verbal skills scores were highly correlated with their language play scores.