ECSDN Research Conference Pages


Due to the Coronavirus Pandemic we decided to continue with our Research Conference but to host it online, which has made it more accessible to so many. We also split the presentations and keynotes up into morning sessions and we recorded them so they could be viewed widely.

The recording presentations we have shared below are from the third and final mini conference for this year and we proud to share them.

Please feel free to download the Conference Abstract from the button on the right

Keynote: Dr Valerie Daniel
Formalised Curiosity: Poking and Prying with Purpose

Dr Valerie Daniel is a qualified Teacher with over 30 years’ experience with the last 13 years as a Maintained Nursery School head teacher. Her other roles include being a trustee for the Birmingham Nursery Schools Collaboration Trust (BNSCT) currently the chair of the Trust as well as sitting on a number of Local Authority Strategic groups. She is one of fifteen Birmingham Association of Maintained Nursery Schools (BAMNS) head teachers who work within a contractual collaboration.

Valerie has a deep interest in the dynamics of the current Early Years Sector and received her Doctorate in Education from the University of Birmingham on her thesis titled ‘The Perceptions of a Leadership Crisis in the Early Years Sector (EYS)’. She is also a trained Systems Leader and Leadership Mentor for other head teachers and leaders in the Early Years Sector.


Dr Helen Simmons is a Senior Lecturer and International Link Tutor on the BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies and Pathway Leader on the MA Education (Early Childhood Pathway) at the University of Derby.

Prior to joining the University in 2008, Helen 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 and early years policy and her doctoral research and subsequent monograph publication provided a feminist post-structuralist analysis of modern motherhood. Helen lectures and supervises across Undergraduate and Postgraduate Early Childhood and Education programmes and her role also includes PhD supervision.

Helen is Vice Chair for the Early Childhood Studies Degrees Network (ECSDN): Policy, Lobbying and Advocacy (National and International), her research interests centre on the sociology of childhood, children's workforce development and critically reflective practice.

Amanda Tayler began her career in early years as a parent helper in a small preschool. Whilst there she gained a Level 3 qualification and became nursey manager. She studied for a foundation degree and level 6 top-up BA (hons) in early childhood studies. Whilst studying her MA she became course leader at a local college, then took her current role at Staffordshire University as course leader for the full time BA (hons) early childhood studies. Amanda is a senior fellow of the HEA, and her doctoral research examines the role of the Early Years Teacher.

Marie Bradwell is a PhD student with an interest in social policy, mental wellbeing and listening to young children. Her PhD study “See Me Hear Me” builds on the premise that children are co-constructers of knowledge and active agents in their lives, and yet there remains an absence in truly listening to young children in research and in practice.    Her PhD research is designed to listen to young children's narratives on mental health and wellbeing. Utilising a mosaic approach, she has listened extensively to 40 children, aged 4 to 6 years, to explore what influences there are in their everyday lives that influences their mental health.  To hear what strategies the children, find beneficial in support and how these can / are implemented.

Marie is a visiting lecturer at Marjon and has been in post since 2018. Marie has and continues to lecture on various programs, including Psychology, SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disability), EYITT (Early Years Initial Teacher Trainee), Criminology, Childhood Practice, Early Childhood Studies, MA Early Years, FdA Early Years, FdA Learning and Teaching, Youth and Community Work. Marie is also a visiting lecturer at Cornwall College, teaching on the Fda Early Childhood Studies.

Marie’s particular areas of interest are Policy and Practice, Safeguarding, Multi agency working and of course Child’s Voice.

Aaron Bradbury is a Principal Lecturer Early Years and Childhood (Learning and Development, Psychology, Special Educational Needs and Inclusion) at Nottingham Trent University. Aaron is the Chair of the LGBTQIA+ Early Years Working group and advocates for representation in the Early Years.

He is a Member of the Coalition for the Early Years on the Birth to Five Matters and currently researching on Early Childhood workforce, The voice of the child, and Pioneers of Early Childhood. Co-Chair of the Early Years Academy and owner of Early Years Reviews, Team Early Childhood Podcast and Radio Host on Teacher Hug Radio for Early Years Childhood Chatter



Dr Tanya Richardson is a Senior Lecturer in Early Years at the University of Northampton. She has previously managed and led her own “outstanding” day nursery and out of school club. The nursery setting was fortunate enough to have a forest school as part of its ethos and Tanya became very interested in the impact that this environment had on children’s speech and language development. She therefore is lucky enough to have the practice wisdom that she is able to apply to the academic studies and her PhD researched the impact that different learning and play environments have on young children’s speech and language development. She is also particularly interested in the student experience for those studying Early Childhood Studies and researches aspects with the aim to enhance this experience and produce professionals who will be excellent advocates for children and their families.

Sigrid Brogaard Clausen is a senior lecturer and researcher in Early Childhood at the School of Education, University of Roehampton. She was previously a lecturer at the College of Social Education/ Kobenhavns Paedagog Seminarium - Copenhagen - Denmark.Her research interest arise from her experience of the Danish and English early years and range from the policy conditions for children's well being, learning and democratic participation to the development of professional identity in early childhood workforce. She has been a programme convenor for the BA Early Childhood Studies for 11 years and is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, England. She is a member of the Executive group of the Early Childhood Studies Degree Network, England

Su Wall is a senior lecturer at the University of Derby on the BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies degree. Prior to joining the University, Su worked as an advisor the for the local authority, led the early years programmes within a further education college in Derby, UK and was the nominee for two early years nurseries. This is where Su became a forest school practitioner and embedded the ethos in to both nurseries running a successful forest school nursery. Su’s interest in supporting the most vulnerable children and families was further enhanced with the development and opening of a 2yr old provision attached to a primary school. Su’s interests and research includes the outdoor environment which was inspired by the impact forest school’s ethos has on children’s holistic development, inclusion in the widest context and aspects of safeguarding. She is interested in the experience of students enrolled on the Early Childhood Studies degree and how students are able to link theory in to practice with ultimately improving outcomes for children and families

is the Associate Head (Research and Innovation) in the School of Education and Sociology at the University of Portsmouth. Her research interests include posthumanist and new material feminist ways to enact and extend conceptualisations of professional practice and more-than-human subjectivities in Early Childhood. Her recent research focuses on place-space in classrooms and gardens. This has been enacted using walking-with methodologies where she is become interested in the ways in which place and space impact teachers and practitioners understanding of young children

Eva Mikuska is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Education, Health and Social Science at the University of Chichester, UK. Her work seeks to broaden current views on early childhood education and care in England with the aims to produce a more generative, ethical, and political way to enact ECEC research. Her language skills (native Hungarian, and Serbo-Croat) and her research enables her work to have synergy with a national and international set of ECEC researchers.

Alex Sabine is a Senior Teaching Fellow at the University of Portsmouth, course leader of the BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies and Co-Chair of the Early Childhood Studies Degrees Network. He is passionate about education and is particularly interested in more creative forms of education which encourage the emergence of true character and ‘Self’ in social structures. His research into teacher well-being dovetails nicely with his professional and personal background in all phases of education and the various experiences of different educational approaches from throughout the world.

Sarah Barton is a Senior Lecture and the University of Portsmouth and course leader of Early Years Initial Teacher Training (EYITT). She has 30 years experience of teaching Early Childhood working is settings, schools and as a lecturer. Her research is focused on early years practitioner development. She routinely works with local and regional providers to identify practical application of contemporary theory as well as seeking to inform the field of research from a practitioner perspective.