Latest news


Read here a fantastic article by our President, Wendy Scott, in which she writes passionately about Ofsted’s blinkered vision of early reading following the Bold Beginnings Report. It is part of a new book by the indefatigable Prof. Margaret Clark.


1.  We are returning to our roots!  Make a date for our 40th Anniversary residential Conference at University of Derby – 2nd-3rd November, 2018.  It will be an outstanding conference with the title of ‘Back to the future in early years‘ and themes around ‘Making Connections‘.   More info very soon. Keep looking!  And please offer to help.

2.  Now that we are more and more moving to web-based communications, it has been decided to send you the Latest News by Member e-mail (rather than Newsletter) – the first of the 2018 News emails can be read here by members.  Also, do please ensure that we have an up-to-date email for you – contact us here.

3.  Our bank account system has changed so … please check that you are paying membership fees into the correct account (the old account will soon be closed). If you’re unsure, please contact Janet MoylesAnd do email/contact us if you have a change in your details (address, email, phone, etc.) so we can be sure to keep you updated regularly.


TACTYC has written a draft response to the QTS Consultation which you can find here. (Thanks to Viki Veale for her efforts). Please remember to send in your own responses as, although we represent many members, our paper only counts as one response to the English government. Final date is 9th March so only a little time left.

Our response to ‘Strengthening level 2 qualifications‘ has also been submitted.


There have been a number of new moves regarding our campaign to rid the early years world of Baseline Assessment once and for all.  There is a great video made by More Than a Score to view here and a supportive booklet.  There’s also been some useful press coverage – see TES, Nursery World and the Independent!   Hear, hear!!

Our Vice- Chair, Nancy Stewart, spoke out against the return of Baseline at a recent conference.  She urged all school leaders who do not agree with the introduction of the new reception assessment should refuse to take part in a pilot due to take place in 2019-20. Find the write-up here.

And NAPE has written an open letter regarding Baseline Assessment – have a look here.


TACTYC Exec and members are outraged at the recent OfSTED Report ‘Bold Beginnings’. We feel that it will cause long-term, detrimental effects on young children’s confidence, motivation and disposition to learn, as well as on their parents’ attitudes and early years teachers’ professional integrity.  Read our response here. And do let us have your views on the issues raised in the Report.  Already our evidence has been used – see here (around 11.23 mins).

Early Education has joined the debate and published a short article –  What’s wrong with Bold Beginnings? A summary for school leaders – offering advice for ways forward for practitioners and heads.

Nancy Stewart (our Vice Chair) and others met with OfSTED inspectors, the agreed outcome document being found here.

Di Chilvers from Watch Me Grow has written a challenging piece responding to ‘Bold Beginnings’ which she has allowed us to use in our Reflections pages.

Professor Colin Richards (a previous President of TACTYC and ex-HMI) has also followed up his previous open letter with this one, well worth a read.


An interesting article worth reading appeared recently in the New York Times, showing us in the UK and beyond how early years practitioners are under-valued in societies in general.

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

You can now access all information about our exciting series here. We now have four books published, the latest being Places for Two-Year-Olds in the Early Years edited by Jan Georgeson and Verity Campbell-Barr. Two more will follow this year.  These are exciting research into practice books which are invaluable to busy trainers.  Further information and opportunity to order your copy here.


“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.


Di Chilvers from Watch Me Grow has written a challenging piece responding to ‘Bold Beginnings’ which she has allowed us to use in our Reflections pages.

In the latest Reflections paper, Colette Saunders outlines a case for unionising the early years workforce. Colette writes from an Irish perspective but her argument for a collective voice with power to resist the many challenges facing the sector is one with universal relevance.


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.


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.


Our TACTYC colleague, Prof. Pamela Oberheumer, is involved in a new venture regarding the ECEC workforce profiles in Europe.  You can find information and a website here. English language texts will be available shortly.


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.’