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I am the Professional Lead for Early Years Curriculum Development and Partnerships within the Department of Education at Kingston University. I previously held academic roles in Further and Higher Education leading in the design, development and validation of Foundation Degrees in Early Years. I am an Early Years (EY) Professional with over 25 years of experience in the sector. I have operated my own EY provision in Malaysia, worked as an accredited trainer in Children's Rights for the Malaysian government, held the position of Vice President with the National Association of Registered Childcare Providers, Malaysia in charge of training programmes and more recently as an EY independent advisor for local settings in London. I have worked in UK Higher Education (HE) since 2008. My HE expertise is broad and includes the design, ongoing development, delivery and quality assurance of EY curricula up to Level 7, bespoke CPD activities, external examining, training and mentoring of staff as well as presentations at conferences. As a Senior Fellow in Higher Education, I am committed to education innovations including apprenticeship development with partners, the design and implementation of a HE Self-Assessment Tool (SAT) and framework for Successful Assessment Practices (SAP) used with workbased learners in the Department of Education at Kingston University and select business programmes at the University of Greenwich. I have also co-published a theoretical tool called the Framework for Assessing Science in the Early Years (FASEY) in the Journal for Early Child Development and Care and presented this at the SEFDEY National Conference. This tool is currently being used at a local academy and informs an ongoing research project. My doctoral research relates to the decolonising of Early Years professionals which has shaped and continues to shape the Early Years curriculum content and delivery at Kingston University. I have academic leadership responsibilities within the Academic Domains of Teaching and Learning and Professional Practice.
Professional Lead for Early Years Curriculum Development and Partnerships
As the Professional Lead for Early Years Curriculum Development and Partnerships within the Department of Education, I have the opportunity to ensure currency, diversity and inclusion within Kingston University's work-based Early Years (EY) programmes. The EY programmes are research informed. My co-published, theoretical tool called the Framework for Assessing Science in the Early Years (FASEY) in the Journal for Early Child Development and Care has informed the development of modules both on the Foundation Degree in Early Years as well as the BA Hons Early Years Top Up programmes. I have also actively led the teaching team to provide forums for the LGBTQ+ communities to engage with student practitioners on our Early Years programmes as under-represented groups to encourage meaningful inclusion, participation and diversity within the EY sector. My teaching extends beyond EY to include Level 4-6 Special Educational Needs and Inclusive Practice (SENIP) programmes and supervision of students on the MRes programme within the Department of Education. In my role, I also work with a wide range of partners that include schools, multi academy trusts (MATs),private sector organisations, community groups, local authority and Further Education (FE) colleges. The FE colleges and MATs form part of our eight partner institutions located in London and Surrey who offer Kingston University's Foundation Degree in Early Years. Professional development and recognition are a key priority in my role, leading me to register our Foundation Degrees in EY with the Sector Endorsed Foundation Degree in Early Years Association (SEFDEY) which recognises our programmes as a high-quality work-based learning course that meets the needs of children and their families. I have also obtained membership for Kingston University with the Early Childhood Studies Degree Network (ECSDN) to enable the EY team to belong to a community of practice that lead in cutting edge developments in the sector and knowledge transfer for both the students and the teaching team. The portfolio of EY programmes that I oversee continue to reflect changes in the sector within the modules which are continually reviewed and updated. They were given a vote of confidence during the Internal Subject Review (ISR) in 2019/2020 which I co-led for the EY team. The review highlighted a range of good practice including excellent collaborative working practices, good student-centred approaches, a range of teaching strategies to meet work-based learning needs, which were current and up to date with the sector developments. This has been echoed by the External Examiners and the impact and civic duty of the partnership has been presented to the Head of School and Vice Chancellor at the University of Portsmouth. I am also involved in taking forward enquires and interest in degree apprenticeships that relate to the Department of Education. As a Senior Fellow in Higher Education, I have and continue to mentor peers in achieving this level of professional standing within the Department. I also provide bespoke mentoring and training activities to support new tutors within the team and the partnership. I have also designed, developed and implemented an open-ended Self-Assessment Tool (SAT) for Higher Education learners to develop autonomy and assessment literacy. This is used widely within the Early Years and SENIP work-based programmes at KU and on select business courses at the University of Greenwich.
I am currently involved in trialling the Framework for Assessing Science in the Early Years (FASEY) tool with children in a nursery provision within a Multi Academy Trust. Following on from the implementation of FASEY, I have gathered data from practitioners on their lived experience, confidence and perspectives on the relevance of promoting scientific engagement in the Early Years through an assessment method. This is currently in the write up stage for publication.
I am also keenly involved in promoting self-assessment amongst higher education learners to promote ownership and autonomy of learning and increased confidence in addressing assessment tasks. This has led to the conceptualisation of a Self-Assessment Tool (SAT) used widely within the work-based learning programmes within the Department of Education at Kingston University. This tool has also been trialled in the University of Greenwich with select students on business courses. I presented the SAT tool at the Festival of Learning at Kingston University and the SHIFT conference at the University of Greenwich as a tool that promotes assessment literacy.
I am carrying out a joint research with colleagues from the Business School at the University of Greenwich trialling the SAT tool and also developing a framework for Successful Assessment Practices (SAP), which theorises the tool from the perspective of the academic.
I have previously conducted research into the perceptions of Early Years practitioners regarding their professional status and identity and am currently building on this research, looking into the decolonising of Early Years Higher Education curricula for my doctoral studies. The study investigates the rhetoric of decolonisation with a focus on Early Years curricula offer on undergraduate programmes.
Marian, Hazel and Jackson, Claire (2017) Inquiry-based learning : a framework for assessing science in the early years. Early Child Development and Care, 187(2), pp. 221-232. ISSN (print) 0300-4430
I have previously explored partnerships with institutions in Singapore and Malaysia to deliver Early Years programmes and continue to network with various institutions in South East Asia to advance business opportunities and knowledge transfer. I have been part of the validation panel for Kingston University's Franchised delivery of BSc (Hons) Business Management at the Indian School of Business and Finance (ISBF), New Delhi, India. My previous role as International Lead Tutor in the Department of Education meant that I was heavily involved with the Comenius Association and the Erasmus Student Exchange programme. All these direct and transferable experiences provide me with the working knowledge to ensure that our EY programmes are not only nationally but globally compatible.
I have also worked closely with colleagues to develop and deliver a range of bespoke CPD programmes, which have informed Further Education collaborative partner staff development days. I have also carried out extensive training related to the Framework for Assessing Science in the Early Years (FASEY) and the Self-Assessment Tool (SAT) with various stakeholders in the Early Years sector. In addition, I have contributed actively to programme developments within the Department of Education at Kingston University.
As the deputy Vice Chair of the Early Years Special Interest Group at Kingston University, I have developed initiatives such as the 'Friends of Kingston'. This is an initiative to include current practitioners, operators of nurseries, alumni students and representatives from the public and non-governmental sector as critical friends and participants of this Special Interest Group, shaping professional practice approaches and research activities.
I belong to a wide range of professional networks. I hold the position of Vice-Chair on the Early Years Special Interest Group at Kingston University and am a member of the Science Special Interest Group. I also belong to the Early Childhood Studies Degree Network and the Sector Endorsed Foundation Degree in Early Years Association. Apart from these professional affiliations I am also part of an International Special Interest Group based on Decolonising Early Childhood Discourses: Critical Posthumanism in Higher Education. Currently I am working with a range of nurseries both as a critical friend and as part of wider research projects. I still operate a Children's Care Centre in Malaysia as a non-profit partner, which allows me to gain practical field experience at least two times a year. I am committed to the development of professional standards and contributed actively to consultations in the sector. I have successfully led successful validation events that has seen the growth of our partnership provision and the delivery of Kingston University's Early Years courses. My role as the deputy Vice-Chair of the Early Years Special Interest Group at Kingston University with the portfolio of 'Networking' provides me with the opportunity to establish new partnerships and to be involved in Early Years curricula developments and networking activities. I am an accredited Master Trainer for the Convention on the Rights of the Child jointly accredited by Malaysian Child Resource Institute and the Prime Minister's Department, Malaysia, which provides me with the professional expertise to carry out training on Children's Rights. I am also actively involved in research projects with colleagues within the School of Business at the University of Greenwich and with colleagues at Kingston University, investigating best practice approaches to promote assessment literacy through the use of the Self-Assessment Tool (SAT).
In my current role, I line manage the Early Years academic team, which includes course and module leaders. As part of my role I also mentor and coach new and existing staff members into various roles. I also support the team to develop innovations within their roles by offering a critical space for dialogue, these include monthly Early Years focussed meetings and one to one supervision sessions. These meetings allow for strategic decisions around the growth and expansion of the programmes and services, course and module level developments and personal and professional development. I have also collaborated with other departments within KU and with other Higher Education Institutions offering them insights into the strategies that are used effectively within the programme, which include the SAT tool and active strategies such ‘Meet the Team' sessions. I have also led the team to present at the Festival of Learning and to showcase good practice approaches. In addition to these initiatives, I also support colleagues through the peer observation scheme and mentoring to enable them to achieve SFHEA status. My critical contributions to the Early Years team include leading in aspects of validation events and designing bespoke events with the wider support teams at Kingston University. These initiatives include the development of bespoke Writing and Oral Skills Workshops and Academic Referencing Sessions. I have also led and mentored staff to provide a robust CPD programme for KU EY partners, which include sessions such as marking training, teaching pedagogy and critical issues in the Early Years which are informed by ongoing research in the sector. I keenly monitor the student recruitment and achievement statistics and in discussion with subject teams have rolled out marketing initiatives to support recruitment through the ‘Refer a friend' scheme, ‘Meet the Team' events and ‘Friends of Kingston' initiative.