Every now and then we will feature one of our TACTYC members who will give you information about themselves and why they are members of TACTYC. If you would like to contribute your own profile, then please get in touch with [email protected]  sending brief information and a photograph.

TRUSTEE BOARD: Here is the current list of TACTYC Trustees and their roles.  

EDITORIAL BOARD:  You can also read the profiles of the members of our excellent Early Years journal Editorial Board, which has members from all over the world.

We regularly have new profiles so do keep looking – and don’t forget that we’d also like to receive yours to add to the website: it only takes a minute to put something together and e-mail it to  [email protected]  So why not do it now?

We hope you will enjoy reading about colleagues who are involved in different ways as members of TACTYC.

| Helen Bilton | Jane Payler | Nancy Stewart | Sharon Curtis | Gareth Betts-Davies | Gina Houston | Rosa Collins | Lynn Boyle | Jane Murray | Margaret Simms |Jackie Musgrave | Rosie Flewitt | Margaret Simms | Estelle Martin | Pat Beckley | Wendy Scott | Anita Soni | Janet Moyles | Maulfry Worthington  | Sacha Powell | Rory McDowall ClarkCarolyn Blackburn | Viki Veale | Karen Boardman | Angela Scollen | Penny Borkett  | Nathan Archer Rod Parker-Rees  Annie Pendray

My name is VIKI VEALE. I am currently a TACTYC Trustee.  I am a senior lecturer in early years and primary education at St Mary’s university Twickenham. My aim has always been to empower others. To nurture within them a lifelong passion for learning that leads them towards achieving and exceeding in all that they desire to do.

I have had a broad and varied career in teaching working with children from reception to year six. In addition to my role as a class teacher, I have always embraced the opportunity to mentor students and newly qualified teachers as they take the first steps on their journey into teaching. I have also enjoyed the opportunity to encourage and inspire not only the children in my care, but, through the relationships I have built up with their parents, and my work as a leader for family learning, their parents and careers too.

As a senior leader, I initiated and ran training sessions to upskill teaching and learning assistants in each of the schools I worked in, helping them to develop their confidence in computing and the use of positive behaviour strategies. I also provided additional support and training for all staff in how to promote physical development, creativity and outdoor learning. As my career developed, this led me into external training provision and consultancy work.

After 15 years teaching and leading throughout the primary sector in a range of socially diverse settings, I became a parent. In order to enjoy my children’s early years, I retrained as a childminder. I soon became a childminder mentor, supporting new childminders in establishing their businesses and organising group meetings to share best practice, resources, ideas and behaviour strategies. This evolved once more into consultancy work across a new range of settings including schools, nurseries, sure start centres, play groups and home based childcare settings.

Working closely with schools, child minders, nurseries new parents and PTA’s, I led development of a transition to primary program for children and families. Expanding upon the traditional ‘stay and play session model’ this comprehensive program identified and addressed key concerns such as changing for PE, lunchtimes, toileting, routines and communication. It ensured that children started school feeling more familiar with and confident in their new environment and that new parents were able to discuss their fears and concerns with those with more experience so that they too were comfortable and confident with this transition.

I returned to teaching in 2015 before transitioning into full time lecturing in initial teacher training. This role allows me to continue to support and empower student teachers and other practitioners. It also enables me to pursue my research interests into the development of effective behaviour for learning and strategies to support transition. In 2017 I presented a briefing paper at the TACTYC conference on Birmingham on my research into the impact of digital technology on children’s behaviour and school readiness, and the continued importance of outdoor play. This paper is available on the TACTYC website.

I remain committed to encouraging those working with young children to gain qualifications and accreditation that recognise and reflect the impact that we, as practitioners have in early childhood education and development.

IMG_8252 editI’m Helen Bilton and I am a Professor of Outdoor Learning at the University of Reading. I am currently a TACTYC Trustee. I trained as a nursery teacher and my first lecture was on the nursery garden – this has been my passion ever since. I research and write on the early years outdoor teaching and learning environment. My first book, Outdoor Learning in the early years: Management and innovation, is now in its 3rd edition and my most recent book, Taking the first steps outside. Under threes learning and developing in their natural environment, is a collaboration with colleagues in Portugal. An important part of my approach to teaching is to challenge teachers to develop their practice and I run continuing professional development on a range of topics. My present area of research interest is the oral language development of young children in the outdoor environment and teacher attitudes and values to the outdoor education.

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Jane Payler is Professor of Education (Early Years), co-director of the Children’s Research Centre and Deputy Associate Dean for Scholarship in the faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies at the Open University. Jane was Chair of TACTYC from 2012-2015 and co-edits the TACTYC book series. Jane’s research focuses on interprofessional practice in early years, professional and workforce development and children’s participation, experiences and interactive learning processes. Recent publications include Beginning Teaching Beginning Learning in Early Years and Primary Education 5e (2017, co-edited with Janet Moyles and Jan Georgeson) and ‘Young children shaping interprofessional practice in early years settings: towards a conceptual framework for understanding experiences and participation’ in Learning, Culture and Social Interaction, (2016) 8: 12-24 (with Jan Georgeson and Sandie Wong).


I’m Nancy Stewart, and I’m an independent consultant and writer. In 2007 I was co-opted to TACTYC’s Executive Committee as a local authority representative, and have stayed busy with TACTYC ever since.

I moved from the USA to the UK with my husband and young son 38 years ago. At that point I had experience in health education, had completed my teacher training, Master’s degree and school teaching experience. In following years our family grew by three more children, while my career followed a winding path that kept children and families at the centre. I established a sessional nursery in our home, taught pregnancy couples classes, and wrote for national magazines – including an ‘agony mum’ column – and a book about babies and toddlers. After finding my way back into schools I led early years and was Assistant and Deputy Head in a large primary school, teaching in reception and nursery. Moving into local authority advisory work, I supported schools, settings and childminders with quality improvement, developed and delivered training, led implementation of the new EYFS, moderated EYFS Profile in schools, and was the education lead in a new children’s centre. I also got involved as lecturer and assessor for Early Years Professional Status through Manchester Metropolitan and Edge Hill Universities.

As Senior Adviser with National Strategies, I had a lead role in Every Child a Talker, and in developing national materials. I was one of a team of four who provided expert advice to the Tickell review of the Early Years Foundation Stage, and through my interest in children’s development as self-regulating learners I urged bringing the characteristics of effective learning into the statutory framework. I have been an independent consultant since 2012, delivering CPD all around the country, acting as consultant with the Study of Early Education and Development (SEED), and writing a number of books including How Children Learn: The Characteristics of Effective Early Learning (Early Education 2012). I co-produced Development Matters in the EYFS with Helen Moylett, and am an Associate with Early Education. I am always keen to learn more about communication and language, self-regulation, and the role of the adult in playful teaching and learning.

sharon Curtis

I am Dr. Sharon Curtis and I am a TACTYC Trustee. I’m currently the Head of Centre at Ellesmere Children’s Centre, an Ofsted designated outstanding early years provision in Sheffield. Voted in the Sheffield Educational Award as ‘Best Nursery’ in 2015. The Centre has also been honoured with the Duke of York Award in 2008 and reaccredited in 2013. I have travelled to China to look at educational leadership and alternative medicines and was also a panel representative on the Nutbrown review in 2014. I have been deeply-rooted in early years development for over 20 years and have been a member of several boards including National Early Years Equality, Sheffield Children’s Information Services and Consortium for Children and Families. I was thrilled to be short-listed for the First Women Award 2016 a networking event that brings together outstanding and inspirational women hosted in London. My current TACTYC role is as Vice-Chair.

I have experiences that incorporate health, education and couple counselling at Relate Sheffield. Possessing a proven eclectic approach to counselling that also includes shorter courses in family and play therapy. I do feel that these experiences support leaders to effectively understand the inequalities that can impact on family life. As a counsellor I have developed a natural style in my delivery of services communicating effectively using a transcultural approach with children and families. I have worked in a number of third sector organisations and understand how the infrastructures and the politics surrounding families can be quite complex.

My work has been visionary, challenge driven, diverse and successful; in a number of arenas including regeneration. I am a passionate educator devoted to providing a widely resourced multi diverse early learning environment for young children and students. I enjoy the benefits of partnerships and networking both nationally and internationally. My management experience includes a high commitment to quality development and infrastructure. I am recognised amongst colleagues for a keen ability to energise and inspire individuals to work towards achieving a common goal. My role includes working as an advisor at board level supporting SME in various business sectors, focused on high calibre nursery education.

I have recently completed my doctoral research (awarded 2015, Leeds Beckett University) which examined Black Women Leaders’ experiences within the early years sector and intersectional complexities. I also clearly understand that safe spaces for those to share their differences, extending these opportunities to have their voices heard, alongside their experiences are crucial. In particular for those who remain isolated in their sectors. I have presented my work at the Centre for Education for Racial Equality in Scotland (CERES 2013) and the British Educational Leadership Management and Administration Society (BELMAS 2015). My personal interest is therapeutic care for children and the promotion of diversity and difference that includes the importance of transcultural care.

Gina Houston

My name is Gina Houston and I am now retired from many years of working in the early years sector. My career began in 1968 teaching in nursery classes and as the headteacher of a nursery school. During this time I was seconded for a year to Froebel Institute to teach on a course for teachers who wished to retrain in early years education. This gave me an interest in teaching adults leading to training early years practitioners in further education colleges and becoming course manager until joining a local authority as the Early Years advisor. I left to be involved in the Sure Start initiative and had the opportunity to establish and manage a local Sure Start programme until my retirement. However, I could not keep away from the early years sector and began supporting schools and nurseries as a consultant.

My work with young children in an urban environment gave me an interest in issues of race and racism and how these impacted on their education and development. This resulted in me studying for a Diploma in Multicultural Education at Goldsmith’s College during which I was seconded to teach for a year in a rural Jamaican primary school. On my return I studied further for an MA in urban education and have recently completed a Ph.D. researching black children’s experiences in reception classes, which I am currently writing up for publication as a book to support practitioners in their work and studies.

For over twenty years I was on the executive of Early Years Equality, a voluntary organisation that supported practitioners to implement an anti-racist curriculum and environment in their early years settings. During this time I wrote publications, provided training and advice, and lobbied for anti-discriminatory legislation, curriculum and practice in the early years sector.

I have been a member of TACTYC since the 1980s, finding the journal extremely informative and useful both personally and professionally. Other TACTYC members have always been available for information and support, keeping me up-to-date over the years on all political and academic issues regarding early years education and training. I am now fortunate to have been co-opted on the executive board for the period 2016-2017 and look forward to contributing further to this excellent organisation.

Rosa Collins

Rosa Collins is a very proud mother of two daughters with a passion for the importance of early years and the well-being of all children which I think comes from my Spanish cultural experience!

I have worked in the early years field for over 11 years, holding various roles in the public and private sectors from childminder and Network Co-ordinator to Quality Improvement Manager for a local authority. I studied with University of Leicester through Pen Green Research, Training and Leadership Base to gain a Masters Degree in Integrated Provision for Children and Families in 2011.

While studying for the MA, I discovered TACTYC through the Early Years Journal. As an early years trainer I found I had a lot in common with the aims of TACTYC and I was so pleased when I was co-opted to the Executive. A few years later and I am now an elected member of the Exec which is a great honour..

I am currently working as a Consultant but still have time to support the valuable work of TACTYC and the conference committee.

ProfileMy name is Carolyn Blackburn and I am currently a member of the Early Childhood Research Group at Birmingham City University where I am also a visiting lecturer on the Early Education Studies degree course.

My career in early childcare and education began when I had my own children 17 years ago. Initially I was a volunteer on PTAs before accepting a job as inclusion support worker helping children with EAL and additional needs.  I very quickly identified that I was happiest working with the youngest children and those who needed extra help, so I decided to train to work in early years and soon found myself managing a community-run pre-school.  Following this I worked for the Pre-School Alliance as a family support worker and development worker for children aged birth to three.  Eventually I found my way into research, working with parents and other early years practitioners as co-researchers to raise awareness of foetal alcohol spectrum disorders, before commencing my PhD which has investigated the diverse communication needs of young children in the foundation stage.

I joined TACTYC in 2011 and presented the initial findings of my doctoral work at their conference in York that year where the keynote speaker was Usha Goswami.  I was so pleasantly surprised to find how friendly and collegial the atmosphere was.

Rory McDowall Clark photographMy name is Rory McDowall Clark.I am currently a TACTYC Trustee. I have been a TACTYC member for twenty years and a Trustee member since 2012. I was delighted to be elected and feel privileged to be fully involved in TACTYC’s work.

For eighteen years I was a Senior Lecturer in the Centre for Early Childhood at the University of Worcester, involved in establishing undergraduate and postgraduate provision. When Early Years Professional Status was introduced I took on responsibility for that and particularly enjoyed working with inspiring practitioners who do so much to lead practice and improve outcomes for young children within their settings. After retiring from teaching, I remained involved with Early Years Teachers, continuing to undertake assessments as an opportunity to visit different settings and keep in touch with practitioners in the field. An important aspect has been collaborative research with EYPs around what it means to lead practice, culminating in a book Reconceptualising Leadership in the Early Years (Open University Press) with Janet Murray and forming the basis of my doctoral research.

No longer teaching gives me more opportunity to write, something I have always enjoyed. My first book, Childhood in Society (Sage) now in its third edition, reflects my other main academic interest in how societies construct varying understandings of childhood. The discourses that underpin these emerge in policy and legislation as well as the popular media and so have very real effects for young children’s lives. Of particular concern is the current concept of young children as ‘school-pupils-in-waiting’ making advocacy for our youngest citizens more important than ever. For this reason I was pleased to be asked to write the first book in a new series edited by TACTYC: Exploring the Contexts for Early Learning: challenging the school readiness agenda – published by Routledge in October 2016.

Sacha Powell photographMy name is Sacha Powell. I’m Professor in Early Childhood in the Research Centre for Children, Families and Communities at Canterbury Christ Church University. I’m also Leader of the Faculty of Education’s Children, Families and Communities Research Theme.

I usually work on commissioned/funded research projects and have the good fortune to collaborate with people from many professions and disciplines. I supervise doctoral students and co-direct the new Early Years Doctorate in Education. Since 2009 my research has focused on the processes and practices of daycare for babies in a project called, ‘The Baby Room’. This includes organising an annual conference where people come together to network, hear from speakers and discuss the very particular ECEC needs of babies. I also coordinate an online network for baby room practitioners. With increasing political focus on two-year-olds, I’m currently working (with Kathy Goouch) with three local authorities using case study research to enhance knowledge and understanding of ECEC for this age group.

This runs alongside a sustained interest in early childhood in China and collaboration with Chinese colleagues to learn from their research and practice and share my own experiences and research findings. My Ph.D. (University of Kent, 2002) was about ‘Constructions of Early Childhood in China’. My first degree was in Modern Chinese with Japanese and I’ve worked with kindergarten children in Beijing and then Taipei as a tutor of English as a foreign language.

I’m a Trustee of Kent Children and Families Network (charity), a member of the Froebel Trust Research Committee and Convenor of Parents in Education Research Network (PERN). I was co-opted onto the TACTYC Exec in 2013 – a great privilege and delight!

Rosie Flewitt photographMy name is Lynn Boyle and I am Programme Convenor (level 8) for the BA Childhood Practice and lecturer on the Teaching Qualification in Further Education at the University of Dundee. Prior to this, I was employed as a childcare lecturer at Dundee College and before that as Development Officer in Childcare at Dundee City Council. My early career was in direct childcare including a one-year post in Rome, Italy when I became very interested in community learning. I am enthusiastic in my teaching and learning in the tertiary education sector and have become more interested in digital literacy and promoting student personal learning networks as they work through their studies, often part time and at a distance.

My teaching is informed by my practice experience, as is my recent entry into the world of research. I have worked with many colleagues across the university and across the globe to increase my own personal learning network and have found common interest in distance and e learning to be extremely useful. My other research and professional interests are in attachment theory and care for the under 3’s. Recently I have been delivering CPD to Early Years Practitioners in Dundee and South Lanarkshire looking at professional observation techniques and informing practice through a practice and theoretical knowledge base. I am always keen to increase my personal learning network and hope you may consider finding me on twitter @boyledsweetie.

Jane Murray photographMy name is Jane Murray. I am currently a TACTYC Trustee. In 1983, I completed my Bachelor of Education degree, specializing in ‘first school’ and music and began my teaching career. I went on to work with children aged 2-13 years in various settings including first, infant, primary and middle schools, a music school and a family centre nursery. During the years I spent teaching children, I completed my Master’s degree and was involved in writing for music education and home- school learning projects. I also embarked on the National Professional Qualification for Headship, completing shortly after my move to a post in higher education in 2003.

My current role as Senior Lecturer at The University of Northampton involves me in supporting early years’ practitioners to develop professionally through my teaching across a range of early years’ programmes and my leadership of our early years’ Master’s modules. I am particularly passionate about promoting young children’s capabilities and participation through my teaching, research and writing; I have a number of publications and have presented my work in several countries. I recently completed my PhD on young children’s research behaviours.

In addition to my TACTYC membership, I also serve as an elected member of the Executive with special responsibility for conferences. I am also fortunate to sit on the National Children’s Bureau’s membership forum. In these roles, I am intent on finding ways for the views of young children, their families and their practitioners to be acknowledged, respected and enacted. I have a strong commitment to early childhood gaining the high status it deserves in this country.

Away from the world of early years, I am married and with three children in their teens and twenties, enjoy nothing more than time spent with family and friends. I also enjoy playing the ‘cello, piano and guitar, but as I lack sufficient time to practise these days, sadly this enjoyment is rarely shared!

Margaret Simms photographHello, I am MARGARET SIMMS. I have been a member of TACTYC for quite some time and been privileged to serve as an elected and co-opted member of the Executive. My professional and academic learning journey has opened many doors to publication, and presentations at local, national and international conferences and events where I have shared my passion for encouraging others be the very best they can be.

As Programme Area Coordinator: Higher Education at Vision West Nottinghamshire College University Centre, Mansfield, I am blessed to help nurture future big names in the children’s and young people’s workforce.

My PhD research ‘Retention of Early Years Practitioners in Day Nurseries (2010) still resonates today in terms of reflective practice and the retention debate. I thoroughly enjoy collaborative research and publication and welcome opportunities to do so. You can find me on LinkedIn and Twitter @ProCEEDc.

Estelle Martin photographMy name is Estelle Martin. I have been a member of TACTYC for several years now and have always found the range of contributions and interests of the association to be representative of both contemporary early years practice but also an important voice in influencing policy and research interests shared and encouraged through the Early Years journal as well as at the conference level. I certainly have been inspired by the quality of member contributions in the organisation.

I have been involved as a professional in early years education and care for thirty years across the disciplines in nursery to higher education, social services, psychology service (CAMHS) and postgraduate studies. I have worked in a range of settings in inner and outer London and also in the counties/provinces.

I was formerly a Senior Lecturer in Early Childhood Studies in the Faculty of Education at Canterbury Christ Church University and an associate Tutor with University of East Anglia and an EYPS assessor and Lecturer at University Campus Suffolk. My own research interest is a focus on emotional processes and learning in the early childhood. I am currently working towards my Ph.D. in this subject area.

I have been a co-opted member of the TACTYC Exec in the past and have experience of sitting on steering groups – some examples are (EYE – formerly EYTARN) and developmental work (supervision procedures and guidelines), Equal Opportunities committee (education) and the Thomas Coram Listening To Young Children project. I continue to learn and engage with all aspects of teaching and learning with young children and their communities and have a real interest in the policy and practice issues that are current and emergent.

Pat Beckley photographMy name is Pat Beckley. I am a Senior Lecturer at Bishop Grosseteste University College Lincoln, working in Initial Teacher Training, with responsibility for the co-ordination of Early Years issues on the course team.

I began my career as a Key Stage 2 co-ordinator and became committed to Early Years practice when I helped to lead a play group while my children were young. I found taking Early Years qualifications stimulating and later enjoyed running a large early years unit for many years. As part of my work as an Advanced Skills Teacher for early years, I had the privilege of liaising with colleagues from a range of settings and backgrounds throughout the country.

My research has included a study of Early Years literacy in Hull, reflective action research and case studies to encourage the promotion of inclusion and diversity. I am currently engaged in research for my doctorate based on a comparative study between settings in Hedmark, Norway and Lincolnshire. I’ve endeavoured to keep fully up-to-date with initiatives and have sought to maintain links with colleagues which were established as part of Comenius projects and European Conferences.

I have been a member of TACTYC for a number of years and served on the Executive committee from 2006-2015. I enjoyed participating in discussions regarding relevant policies and practice on a National scale. I’ve found TACTYC Conferences inspiring, leaving me feeling eager to introduce the ideas and initiatives discussed, while re-affirming the crucial nature of early years practice.

Wendy Scott photographMy name is Wendy Scott and I am honoured to be President of TACTYC and a TACTYC Trustee.  I am a Froebel trained early years teacher with eighteen years’ experience in a range of settings, including rural and inner city schools, and the private and voluntary sectors. I have a first class honours degree in psychology and have been trained in counselling and Portage as well as extensive curriculum and management issues.

Following the headship of a demonstration nursery school, I was appointed Senior Lecturer in Early Years Education at Roehampton University, where I co-ordinated the first advanced diploma in multi-professional studies in the UK. After three years as an ILEA district inspector for the early years, and then primary inspector in Kensington and Chelsea, I worked across England as an OfSTED Registered Inspector and nursery inspector and trainer. I became Chair, and then Chief Executive of The British Association of Early Childhood Education and the first elected Chair of the national Early Childhood Forum. During this period, I worked on the identification and evaluation of Early Excellence Centres and gained experience of lobbying government.

After two years as a specialist adviser to the DfES at the time that Sure Start was introduced, I returned to consultancy, working abroad with the British Council and UNICEF as well as with local authorities across England. I have had the pleasure of judging Nursery World’s Nursery of the Year Award since 2006, and served on the expert panel for the Nutbrown Review of Early Years Qualifications in 2012.

I was awarded an OBE in 2014 for services to early years education and care, and look forward to continuing to support TACTYC’s significant work. Please do feel that you can get in touch to let me know about your concerns and successes.

I am currently kept in touch with real life by numerous grandchildren and I now serve on the Executive Committee of the National Association for Primary Education.  I have recently contributed a critique of Ofsted’s Bold Beginnings report in chapters for several books and articles on early literacy.

Anita Soni photographMy name is Anita Soni and I work part time as an Educational Psychologist for Worcestershire County Council. In addition, I also work for Open University as an Associate Lecturer on Foundation Degree courses, and deliver training on Birth to Three Matters and aspects of the Early Years Foundation Stage.

At times I feel I need to make a decision about what I want to be when I grow up! Having said this, my various jobs have the common thread of involving work with young children, their families and the practitioners who support them. I feel strongly that this is where my heart and soul lies.

I have been a member of TACTYC for several years, following a recommendation from Claire Mould.  I had enjoyed reading articles from the Early Years journal for some time before this, both to support my own studies and also to share with other practitioners in schools and early years settings. I have found the Newsletters, journals and website are invaluable, and have provided a greater understanding of the developments and debate that surrounds those of us working in the field of early years at a time of great change.

I was originally co-opted on to the Executive Committee in 2018 and have recently been elected and appointed Secretary to the Exec for 2018-2019. It is stimulating to listen and participate in the passionate debate on policies and practices. It is definitely worth joining TACTYC, and even considering joining the Executive.

My name is Dr. Janet Moyles. I am currently a TACTYC Trustee. I was Professor of Early Childhood Education and Research at Anglia Ruskin University and Senior Lecturer in the same field at University of Leicester, running the largest early years PGCE course in England at one time – now fully retired, although my authored and edit books can still be found on education book shelves.

At present, as a Trustee, I’m responsible for the Occasional Papers and the TACTYC book series, having previously been Treasurer (3 years), Website editor (endless years) and Chair of the original Association (7 years). I’ve been a member of TACTYC since 1988 and have enjoyed (almost) every moment of it!

I originally became a member because I’d been to AGMs and other meetings for several years and really enjoyed the lively debates which took place and the interesting and motivated people I met. Informed discussion has always been at the heart of TACTYC and this has continued over the years. I find that the Trustee meetings and conferences stimulate much really good thinking and ideas which sustain other interests I have, including being Vice-Chair of Governors at a local Infant School and also part of Community in Action in the area where I live. The Trustees are all dedicated people and share a wealth of experiences and expertise from different backgrounds in the early years sector, which makes for lively meetings geared to promoting the work of TACTYC and to serving the needs of our members. I’ve always felt it would be great to have more responses from our members so that we have clear information about what is needed to support their early years work.

With five grandchildren (although they’re growing up fast!), I’m still very much involved in children’s experiences and very much dedicated to continuing to learning more about children’s development through play and justifying it in an educational context – a passion which just won’t go away!

Maulfry Worthington photographMy name is Maulfry Worthington. I am currently writing up my doctoral research on the emergence of mathematical symbols and representations in early childhood, at the VU University, Amsterdam, and am joint founder of the international Children’s Mathematics Network.

With a long career in Early Years education I’m determined to continue as an advocate for the best in young children’s education: one valuable way of doing this is to join with others as a strong, shared ‘voice’ in an organization such as TACTYC. As a member of TACTYC for a number of years I have appreciated the professional role that TACTYC takes on a full range of aspects of early childhood education and training.

I have been part of the Executive committee of TACTYC since 2004 and feel very privileged to be working alongside the other executive members and to contribute to the work of TACTYC and currently edit the Newsletters. Consultations provide a sense of having a voice that will be heard and of being able to help shape policy. Long before I was a member, I sought out TACTYC’s journal Early Years in the University library as one of the key research journals for this phase of education (but so much better to have my own copy!). The growing popularity of the website and the success of the newsletter are also markers of a very active and successful organization. I think most of all I enjoy the real ‘buzz’ from meetings with a group of friendly, like-minded people who are passionate about the things that matter; are willing to stand up and be counted and who bring such a range of expertise and experience!

Hello, I am Dr Karen Boardman and I am currently a TACTYC Trustee. I am the Head of Early Years Education at Edge Hill University. I have been working in the field of early years education since I was 16 years old! Initially, I began my early years career as an NNEB and managed Private Day Nursery and Local Authority settings. I later trained as a early years teacher, working in a variety of schools in nursery, reception and Y1 classes where language, literacy and communication became my passion. As a Senior Leader I was able to develop this passion and continue this emphasis and support, particularly with under-threes. This is the focus of my current research interest. I am an active member of many early years organisations and particularly enjoy the focus of advocacy and lobbying which is at the heart of TACTYC’s work.  

I have been a member of TACTYC for a number of years now and I feel very excited to work alongside such ‘stars’ in ECEC, as an TACTYC Trustee.  I have recently been elected and appointed Chair of TACTYC from June 2020 onwards, taking over the mantle from the wonderful Nancy Stewart. I am looking forward to supporting TACTYC in this role and hope to encourage many other colleagues to join us at TACTYC to advocate and support the ECEC sector.

Angela Scollan is currently a TACTYC Trustee and a Senior Lecturer in Early Childhood Studies and Education Studies at Middlesex University. Previously, she has worked as a Manager, Teacher and Foundation Degree Coordinator in a Further Education College.  It is here her interest in professional progression for mature students employed across the early years sector evolved whilst researching assessment literacy, student feedback and professional identity. 

In 2010, Angela opened her own training company, ‘Emerald Early Years and Education’, offering bespoke training and CPD to promote high-quality, sustainable, and reflective early years leadership and provision. Since the early 1990s, Angela has worked directly with and for children positioning her practice within a transdisciplinary approach and as a rights-based advocate.  Her teaching philosophy, research and writing focus on the child first. Angela has recently completed the EU Erasmus+ project, ‘SHARMED’, observing how facilitation and the use of digital resources encourage shared memories and dialogue in 48 primary and secondary schools in Italy, Germany and England.

Hello I am Penny Borkett and I retired from Sheffield Hallam University in 2019. I am currently a TACTYC Trustee. I taught on both the Foundation degree in early years and then latterly on the Early Childhood Studies degree. I have a B A (Hons.) in Early Childhood studies and an M A in Inclusive Education.

My particular area of interest is inclusion. I very much believe as the Early Years Foundation Stage advocates that all children are unique however I do not see it as a concept that we recognise and then ignore: for me recognition that all children are different and have differing needs is what is at the heart of true inclusion. In 2018 I published a book for Routledge relating to Inclusion and cultural diversity. Not only does this book focus on what inclusion is, policy and theory but it is a practical guide that gives practitioners ideas about how they can make their practice more inclusive. In November 2020 my second book will be published by Sage which relates to special educational needs and disability in the early years. Again this book has at its heart inclusion and is a book which gives practitioners ideas about how to make their practice more inclusive.

Since writing both of these books I have become interested in identity and how early years practitioners can encourage all children to consider their identity and to support children’s recognition of who they are and who they may become. I feel that identity is at the heart of true inclusion.

In my spare time I love nothing more than baking a lot of cakes for various charities I am involved in. I am also a trustee of Baby Basics – a national charity which supports children and families who may be living in deprivation and poverty with essential baby equipment. I am a governor at a local special school and I love spending time with my very precious three grandchildren who help to keep me grounded.

My name is Nathan Archer and I am currently a TACTYC Trustee. I have recently completed a PhD at University of Sheffield exploring the professional identity construction of early childhood educators in policy and practice. I have also been fortunate to gain valuable experience as an associate tutor on the University’s MA Early Childhood Education programme during this time.

I began working in early childhood education twenty years ago having trained as a Montessori Early Years and Primary teacher. Since then I have worked for a local authority early years team on Sure Start Local Programmes and Neighbourhood Nurseries, as an independent consultant and with two national early childhood organisations.

I am also working as a part time researcher with Nuffield Foundation on a ‘Changing face of early childhood’ project. In addition, I am an Associate of Early Education and a board member for a social enterprise nursery.

I joined TACTYC in 2007 and have attended many of the organisation’s conferences and events since then. The diversity of research from policy and practice continues to be inspiring and I look forward to supporting the various ways TACTYC can facilitate this and contributing to the organisation’s important advocacy work.

My name is Rod Parker-Rees. I am a TACTYC Trustee. I am a Visiting Research Fellow in Early Childhood Studies at the University of Plymouth.

After completing a degree in English Language and Literature I was fortunate enough to be able to take a Nursery PGCE course in Bristol which allowed me to specialise in working with 3-4 year old children. I thoroughly enjoyed working as a nursery and reception class teacher before I moved to Exmouth to take up a post at Plymouth University where I helped to develop BEd, BA, PGCE and MA programmes in Early Childhood Studies. I worked with a great ECS team at Plymouth and, between 2004 and 2015, we produced four editions of Early Childhood Studies: an introduction to the study of children’s worlds and children’s lives (Sage/Learning Matters).

My main areas of interest are early child development, the beginnings of communication and the role of playfulness, both in childhood and throughout life. I have written various chapters and articles on these subjects and co-edited a four volume collection of research in Early Years Education (Routledge 2007). I also edited Meeting the child in Steiner kindergartens: an exploration of beliefs, values and practices (Routledge, 2011). After I retired in 2017 I was able to complete a PhD on the basis of published works, entitled ‘Meeting and Minding: early interactions and learning who we are’.

I joined Marian Whitehead and Geva Blenkin as one of the editors of our journal, Early Years, in 1999 – before the days of email and online submissions – and I greatly appreciate the opportunities this role gives me to work with a wide variety of contributors, not to mention an excellent team of colleagues. I have been on the executive committee of TACTYC for even longer and have enjoyed the regular opportunities this has given me to meet a dedicated and delightful bunch of people and to keep informed about a wide variety of early years issues. I am now one of the trustees of TACTYC, representing all of the journal editors.

Hello, I am Annie Pendray, a TACTYC Member. My career in Early Years began as an NNEB and during that time I was fortunate to have many roles working with Nursery and Reception, before moving into KS2 and then leading a behavioural unit. I was the very first cohort of the Foundation Degree in Early Years and studied two evenings a week, whilst working full time in a Nursery and caring for my own two children both under 3. 

My passion for Early Years and studying has continued and I progressed onto managing both FD and BA Early Years and Education Programmes which witnessed me gain my Senior Fellowship HEA. My latest role was Professional Development Manager and part of that role was in initial teacher training, which I am still a small part of alongside studying for my PHD.

This academic year, I have become a Freelance Trainer and Consultant and set up my own business Creating Educational Spaces Ltd, a space which I hope will grow and provide the Early Years sector with a network in which to celebrate practice and exchange ideas, in addition to some visiting lecturer hours where I can still be immersed in the field of Play, Learning and Development. 

In addition, I am keen to raise the voices of action researchers and I currently serve on the Practitioner Advisory Group for the Society of Education and Training, and run the West Midlands FEResearchMeet, whilst continually finding avenues to write and publish my work.



Published: January 18, 2019 |

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