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Policy, Lobbying and Advocacy Strategy Group

Mission Statement
A holistic approach to providing critical perspectives on, and a forum for, the advancement of appropriate early childhood policies, initiatives, and legislation.

Full Statement
The Policy, Lobbying and Advocacy Strategy Group work together to advocate for the standing of Early Childhood Studies as a social science subject discipline nationally and internationally within universities, schools, and colleges.

We aim to develop ECSDN advocacy strategies for ECSDN members (including students, alumni, stakeholders). The Strategy Group meets regularly to discuss innovative strategies that support the promotion of Early Childhood Studies as an academic discipline with interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary working at its centre.

The Strategy Group works with the Chairs and Vice Chairs to develop liaison with other Early Childhood organisations on broader campaigns and lobbying issues. We engage with and respond to policy with an aim to promote the recognition that Early Childhood Studies students are equipped with outstanding knowledge and experience, with expertise that are essential in advocating for the health, well-being and education of all children and their families.

Vice Chair and Members

ECSDN Strategy Group - Policy Helen S


Dr Helen Simmons is a Senior Lecturer in Education (Childhood, Youth and Families) at The University of Northampton. Helen has worked in Higher Education since 2008 and prior to this she worked in early years settings and as a private nanny, she also taught vocational early years courses at Further Education Colleges in Sheffield and Coventry. Helen has undertaken research and publication relating to leadership in the early years, early childhood policy and her doctoral research provided a feminist post-structuralist analysis of modern motherhood. Her most recent publication, a monograph titled ‘Surveillance of Modern Motherhood’ was published in 2020. Helen lectures and supervises across Undergraduate and Postgraduate Childhood programmes and is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Helen is Vice Chair (Policy, Lobbying and Advocacy: National and International) for the Early Childhood Studies Degrees Network (ECSDN) and is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

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ECSDN Strategy Group - Policy Emma T



Emma Twigg is the Programme Leader and Senior Lecturer on the BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies at the University of Derby. Emma's research interests focus on aspects of child protection, she has just started her PhD which is focusing on the representation of children within domestic violence and abuse situations. .

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Dr Jenny Robson is a Senior Lecturer in Early Childhood in the School of Education and Communities at the University of East London. She joined the University of East London in 2015 after working in children’s services in England in both the public and voluntary sector.    Jenny's research has two strands.  The first focuses on values education in early childhood and issues of equality and social justice for young children and their families; specifically, the ways in which these issues are addressed in early childhood policy, pedagogy, and practice. Her most recent research examines the implications of the securitisation of early childhood spaces by the UK government's Counter Terrorism strategy. The second strand focuses on pedagogies that promote participation and justice for students within Higher Education in the discipline of early childhood studies.

ECSDN Strategy Group - Policy Charlotte J


Dr Charlotte Jones is an Associate Professor and the Course Director for Early Childhood, Social Studies programmes and Part Time Degrees at the Centre for Lifelong Learning, University of Warwick. Charlotte’s experience of working with children under the age of five years inspired her to complete a BA (Hons) degree in Early Childhood Studies here at the University of Warwick. During this time, Charlotte also worked within a forest school in Norway. Charlotte then pursued her PhD in Education focusing on policy-to-practice contexts relating to gender within early childhood work and associated notions of practitioner identity. Charlotte is particularly passionate about arts-based research and therefore draws upon her own practices as an artist in order to explore early childhood. In terms of practice and teaching activities, Charlotte has a particular passion for supporting the wellbeing of the early childhood practitioner, also exploring notions of student/practitioner voice, identity, and intuition. She is delighted to be part of the Policy, Lobbying and National Advocacy Group which provide her with the opportunity to combine her interests and passions in this area!

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ECSDN Strategy Group - Policy Fengling


Dr Fengling Tang is a Senior Lecturer in Early Childhood Studies, Centre for Learning, Teaching and Human Development, School of Education, Froebel College, University of Roehampton. Fengling had worked in schools and further education in China and a nursery school in London before she joined the Early Childhood Studies and Early Childhood Research Centre at University of Roehampton in 2007. She has taught on BA/MA Early Childhood Studies and CPD Froebel Professional Certificate course. She has been supervising PhD students as Director of Studies and Co-supervisor at Roehampton.

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ECSDN Strategy Group - Policy Juliette


Dr Juliette Wilson-Thomas is a lecturer in Early Years and Childhood Studies at Manchester Metropolitan University. She also leads the foundation year programme leading onto the Early Years and Childhood Studies, and Education degrees. Juliette's research is focussed on inequality and gender, and her PhD examined social policy, social exclusion and women with caring responsibilities. Prior to working in academia she worked in a number of practice roles with children and families, which informs her research, and drives her passion for the need to better value this kind of work.

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ECSDN Strategy Group - Policy Marie B


Marie is a PhD student, lecturer for Cornwall College and lecturer at Plymouth Marjon University. Marie has an interest in social policy, and children’s mental wellbeing. Her PhD study “See Me Hear Me”  builds on the premise that children are active agents in their lives.

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ECSDN Strategy Group - Policy Nyree N


Dr Nyree Nicholson teaches on the Foundation, Honours and Master’s Degrees across the Professional Studies early childhood, childhood and youth and education pathways at Bishop Grosseteste University. Nyree’s doctorate research explored supporting two-year-old children with speech, language and communication needs and is interested in how policy and early years practice are connected.

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