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Conference and AGM 2015

CONFERENCE/AGM 2015 – Children’s and Practitioners’ experiences of early years care and education: Advocating for young children through research and practice.

30th and 31st October 2015
International Convention Centre, BirminghamB1 2EA, UK

 Almost 100 delegates attended TACTYC’s 2015 Conference. Our schedule was packed with keynotes and workshops but there was also ample time to network with colleagues and enjoy the marketplace stands. All keynote presentations and many of the research briefings are available on the TACTYC website – – our thanks to our presenters.

On Conference Friday, outgoing Chair Professor Jane Payler opened with a warm welcome then our first keynote Dr Ioanna Palaiologou spoke engagingly on the theme of ‘Assessing Child Initiated Play: Reality or Illusion?’ Drawing on a participatory action research study that she had conducted with practitioners, Ioanna shared the complexities the practitioners identified when attempting to assess children’s play in meaningful and authentic ways. A key finding from the study was that ‘all the participants in the project felt that child initiated play has a number of characteristics, but it is impossible to assess it. What is possible is to identify whether it happens or not’. An excellent range of workshops followed with research briefings clustered in themes: ‘Big Pictures in the Early Years’, Young Children’s Worlds’ and ‘Early Years Curriculum 1: Music and Literacy’ and a discussion forum focused on Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood’. Conference delegates then enjoyed an excellent dinner at the Copthorne Hotel, which was an opportunity to discuss topical issues in early childhood.

We enjoyed three keynotes on Conference Saturday. Dr Rose Drury spoke authoritatively on ‘Young multilingual children learning: at home and at school’. Referring to her excellent work in this field, she explored multilingual children’s, practitioners’ and families’ experiences of early years care and education, challenged current national policy-driven deficit models relating to multilingualism and revealed increasing transnationalism and super-diversity juxtaposed with the silencing of multilingualism in many early years settings in England. Later in the day, Professor Jayne Osgood gave a most thought provoking keynote on ‘Reconfiguring Quality: Beyond discourses and subjectivities to matter, bodies and becomings in early childhood education’. Jayne asked us to trouble current constructions of quality in early childhood and to reframe it for the field in meaningful and important ways. Our final keynote – Dr Jacqui Cousins – shared aspects of her remarkable life from her earliest days through to her work in early childhood, her advocacy for children and real world stories of her wonderful family to remind us that it is always ‘Time to Listen: Time to Hear Young Children’. On Conference Saturday, we held the TACTYC AGM and Nancy Stewart gave an update on the important campaigning work TACTYC has been doing in respect of Baseline Assessment in England. We were also treated to another set of excellent research briefings, this time on the themes of ‘Developing Professional Identities in the Early Years’, ‘Socio-emotional interactions’ and ‘Early Years Curriculum 2: IT and Literacy’. We were also delighted to welcome Laura Henry who led an excellent discussion forum on ‘Being there for the Child’.

Professor Jane Payler closed the conference and invited delegates to TACTYC Conference 2016. As they left, delegates shared some very positive views of their experiences of this year’s conference:

An excellent conference

All extremely beneficial and reinvigorating

A friendly, vibrant feel – like ‘coming home’

More of the same please!

Dr Jane Murray and the Conference Team

TACTYC has adopted equality, diversity and inclusion as core values.

KEYNOTES presentations are available – just click on a name: Dr. Ioanna PalaiologouDr. Rose DruryProfessor Jayne Osgood and Dr. Jacqui Cousins(Sadly, most of the photographic images have to be removed from these Ppoint presentations as either it makes the file too large or there are issues of data protection.)

Dr Ioanna Palaiologou 2Professor Jayne Osgood

Professor Jayne Osgood explaining her ideas on quality to delegates.

Dr. Ioanna  Palaiologou giving her presentation on assessing play.

Dr Jacqui Cousins

Dr. Jacqui Cousin’s in full flow and stunning the audience with her commitment to children and childhood.

Dr. Rose Drury’s talk on multilingualism was well received by delegates.

3 Cousins

By chance there happened to be three ‘Cousins’ (unrelated) at the Conference who were all happy to meet each other!  Left to right, Jacqui Cousins, Jackie Cousins (Eyles) and Sarah Cousins.

WORKSHOP PRESENTATIONS:  Click on the name also to read the papers from those who presented stimulating and thought-provoking workshops: Hilary HarrisJacqui BasquillJohn Siraj-Blatchford and Lynette BrockKaren DanielsMary DyerSarah LightfootShannon LudgateCarolyn BlackburnNicola WatsonSarah CousinsAlison MooreZoe GreenhalghLouise Hannon,Colette Tait and Guy Roberts-Holmes/Alice Bradbury.

We were delighted to welcome Laura Henry who lead a session entitled’Being There for the Child’.

Laura Henry

(We share information from our previous conferences under Past Conferences).

Annual General Meeting

There are a number of papers available from the meeting:  Minutes 2015Chair’s ReportJournal ReportWebsite report 2015, and the Communications and Consultations Report. The Membership Secretary/Treasurer reported our numbers to be now 610 members (a rise from last year) but stated how difficult it had been to get members who pay by standing order to change the fee. Our finance are in good order, with sufficient money to sustain our meetings and also to cover the costs of our research project initiatives, Occasional Papers and support for Conferences.

Our excellent Chair for the past three years, Professor TACTYC Chair - Professor Jane PaylerJane Payler, is standing down and her place will be taken by Professor Sacha Powell. Jane was thanked profusely for all her significant efforts on behalf of TACTYC, presented with a bouquet of flowers and congratulated on her recent promotion to Professor at the Open University.

Conferences and AGM 2014


Saturday 1st November, 2014
Successful Pedagogy: Advocating for strong evidence to support early learning

With around 135 delegates, TACTYC’s 2014 Conference and AGM was a popular event! Once again, we found the International Convention Centre, Birmingham an excellent venue, in terms of its location, accommodation and staff team. We hosted the History of Birmingham Nurseries exhibition and welcomed a good range of stands in our marketplace.

Introductory brief talks by TACTYC’s President Wendy Scott, Chair Dr Jane Payler and Executive member Nancy Stewart opened our Conference on a rousing note.  Exploring TACTYC’s work through its aims of advocacy and lobbying, they used the strategies of Creation, Development and Enactment to give a flavour of where we are now in early years and where we’re heading.  Wendy first outlined the influences on early childhood care and education over the last several decades to indicate how we have arrived at our current position, politically and in policy and practice terms. Jane then explored TACTYC’s activities and development in this climate of change and accountability, outlining our collaboration with other groups such as BERA and EE and our continuing responses to consultations and letters to politician and policy makers especially during the last year.  Using the heading ‘Enactment’, Nancy then focused on professional pedagogy, considering practitioners’ values and the relationships with their knowledge, understanding and practice and the influences upon these from such bodies as OfSTED and current policies such as EYFS. Nancy then launched TACTYC’s campaign against baseline assessment explaining that the divergent ways in which children learn are not conducive to linear assessments and could well be extremely harmful to practice, learning and parents.

For our first Keynote, we were delighted to hear the findings of a research report commissioned by TACTYC: Two year olds in early childhood settings. Dr Gill Boag-Munroe outlined the literature review then Dr Verity Campbell-Barr, Dr Jan Georgeson and Sandra Mathers gave an overview of the key findings. As the current government encourages schools to create places for funded two year olds, this very timely research project gives an account of current provision from a range of different early years settings through views, thoughts and concerns from the workforce. It was encouraging to find that there was support from the sector for a minimum level 3 qualification to be held by all staff working with young children and of the importance of understanding how young children learn. The sector acknowledged the importance of training for their continued professional development, especially for supporting two year olds in the setting. The report is available on the website and makes interesting reading.

Our next keynote – Professor Kathy Hall –gave a most thought provoking speech on Networks of the Mind.  She highlighted the hallmarks of Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) and the relevant sociocultural ‘nets’. This included the historical perspective where ECCE is built on the work of the early pioneers. She made the point that nurturing of children is above the need for evidence as it is a moral and ethical objective in its own right. Kathy then emphasised the active role of children in their own development and discussed the policy nets including how the child is positioned as a typical universal child being assessed as an individual independent of the setting so that relational and sociocultural aspects are overlooked in assessments. She noted that England has a particular emphasis on assessment and she also highlighted how literacy and maths are valued, with other aspects such as play and informal learning, art and PE devalued and she suggested that this leads to children being positioned as children as consumers and users with rights. Kathy spoke about the ‘new net of neuroscience’ and how powerful this is in influencing new policies so that there is a danger that early childhood is seen as critical period rather than the brain is recognised as malleable and changing throughout the lifespan.

We enjoyed a busy AGM before lunchtime then conference delegates enjoyed an excellent range of workshops focused on themes including Journeys through practice’ Learning together and Young children in their settings’ Research Briefing papers from the workshops are now available in the Reflections page of the the website. Alongside the workshops, two Discussion Fora also took place: Rod Parker-Rees chaired discussion on 2-year-olds in early childhood settings and Professor Janet Moyles and Maulfry Worthington led a ‘Playshop’ focused on the value of play in children’s learning.

Our final Keynote was June O’Sullivan, MBE, who is Chief Executive of the London Early Years Foundation (LEYF). June spoke inspiringly about Practical ways to retain key values and principles despite policy challenges. She explained how the LEYF purpose ‘Together with families and communities we enable each child to be the best they can be through wonderful experiences that enrich and extend their learning’ – is a catalyst for change and feeds their ambition – ‘Changing the World, one child at a time’. June then shared many of the ways that LEYF enacts its ambition and purpose within a shared enterprise model and she exhorted us all to take up Gandhi’s call to ‘Be the change you wish to see’.

Dr Jane Payler closed the conference by summarising the day’s proceedings and she emphasised how much we look forward to seeing delegates again next year. Most importantly, our delegates gave us some good ideas for next year’s conference and told us how much they appreciated this year’s – here are just some of their comments following the TACTYC Conference 2014:

  • ‘The power of positivity’
  • ‘Time to think, talk and explore’
  • ‘Opportunity to have beliefs and pedagogy reinforced and ideas supported’
  • ‘A really pleasurable experience’
  • ‘It reminded me of the importance of being brave!’
  • ‘I came away invigorated’
  • ‘Excellent as always’.

Dr. Jane Murray and the Conference Team

ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING 1st November, 2014.

The papers from the AGM can be downloaded as follows:  Agenda, Minutes from 2013 AGM, Chair’s Report, Website Report and Journal Report.