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“TACTYC’s conferences have a different feel, as they attract participation from across the sector. All are welcomed, and a sense of belonging created”.

“TACTYC’s conferences are very accessible, enable broad participation across the sector, and are a great opportunity to listen and learn.”

Another successful conference – brilliant reviews and excellent speakers.  Something different from past conferences but equally worthwhile. You’ll be able to read all about it here soon when we have completed the evaluations.

2017 AGM Papers can be found here.



  1.  Over recent months the Executive Committee has been undertaking a governance review, working with consultants to consider the organisation’s aims, membership, activities, responsibilities and structures.  We were pleased that the consultants concluded that TACTYC is a very effective organisation. The loose association which was formed nearly 40 years ago, however, seems not to be the best structure for the current organisation into which we have grown. Members agreed at the 2017 AGM to approve going for charitable status.  We will be starting this process soon.
  2. Three spaces on the Exec were filled – see Chair’s Report – and we will be inviting co-optees soon.
  3. As part of our thinking, we undertook a membership consultation project which makes interesting and informative reading. This is ongoing so do respond when you can.


Long term TACTYC supporter, Professor Margaret Clark, is still influencing policy in UK and internationally through her articles on reading and phonics.  See her latest publication here.


The latest Reflections is Jaime-Lee Knight’s submission which was a runner-up for the best student paper award. Graduating from the University of Chichester, Jaime-Lee asks  us to consider neurodiversity as part of a child’s unique way of being. Read it here.


OH NO!  Baseline looks like returning!

We are disappointed that the English government has not listened to the views of early years practitioners and researchers and seems set to repeat its costly and misguided attempts to reintroduce a commercially run baseline assessment scheme in reception. Early labelling of children based on flawed data is deeply damaging to children’s progress. Reception teachers across the country who are busy helping new children settle in this year, will dread repeating the experience of last year’s pilots, which gave them no additional helpful knowledge about their children’s starting points and took up days of teacher time. Headteachers should be concerned that they will be held to account with dodgy data – the government has not provided satisfactory evidence that a reliable and valid baseline measure can be conducted with 4-year-olds that will show progress achieved with KS2 results. It is vital that any proposed scheme is piloted to show that it can address these concerns, and that the benefits outweigh the human and monetary costs.


Read here all about Viki Veale – a very enthusiastic member of TACTYC, who responded to our appeal at the Conference for more Member Profiles.  Do remember to send yours to Janet

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 Knight 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.


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:


A new review here of the first book in a series specifically devoted to under 3s. Edited by E. Jayne White and Carmen Dalli, this explores pedagogy and policy across many different contexts.


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. Two new books will be published very shortly so watch this space!


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 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 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.


Prof. Peter Moss has written about the OECD’s IELS study in which he suggests that, although progress seems to be floundering because very few (possibly only 2) countries appear to have signed up, the OECD seems not to be acknowledging this weakness in the programme’s intended reach/sample. He also criticises the apparent lack of attention to children’s consent to participate, OECD’s lack of engagement with constructive criticisms that have been circulated about the design and consequently the inability of the methodology to attend to diversity issues or to be culturally sensitive. Read more.

Closing Gaps Early: The role of early years policy in promoting social mobility in England is a new report from The Sutton Trust which explores how ‘early years childcare and education touches on many aspects of social policy, from education to the labour market to the benefits system. It is a tricky area to get right, and as our new research shows, England has a lot to be proud of in this area, having made good progress over the last 20 years on parental leave policies and early education provision. However, there remains a substantial gap in the school readiness of less well-off children and their more advantaged classmates by the time they start school – one that has finally started to narrow but which remains at over 17 percentage points. This gap continues to widen throughout the school years, so it is essential that we close it early so children can begin their formal education on a level playing field.’