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New Leaders in Practice

The unique format of the New Leaders programme meant that whilst developing their early years practice, students studied the theory behind the practice and developed their professional knowledge base and research capacity through the MA programme. This is a model which was highlighted in the Field Report (2010) and the Nutbrown Review and is being developed in the graduate pathway of the Early Years Teacher Initial Teacher Training (ITT).


Kerry Lawrence

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Kerry began the NLEY journey having just completed a BSc in Geography at Canterbury Christ Church University...

View case study [pdf] »

Polly Bolshaw

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Polly worked part-time in her university campus nursery and was considering applying to do the EYPS qualification...

View case study [pdf] » »

Daniella Goodman

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Daniella came across the New Leaders in Early Years programme whilst on maternity leave...

View case study [pdf] »

Where are they now?

The NLEY graduates are now employed in roles across the Early Years sector.
(Click the map opposite to see where they are based)

Current roles include:

One of the Cohort 1 participants has set up her own nursery which opened in September 2013. The opening ceremony was attended by the Mayor of Wandsworth.

Geographically, they are spread across the United Kingdom and beyond with one participant working in Dubai.

See above for some case studies from students on the programme.

Sectoral challenges

The experiences of the New Leaders confirm that there are particular challenges facing graduate leaders entering the Early Years Sector. These include a resistance within the sector to graduate leadership and to the notion of change, low pay and the lack of career structure as well as the gender imbalance in the workforce. This latter one was particularly visible on the programme since of the eight male participants who started, only one completed the whole programme, whilst another three completed with the postgraduate diploma in Early Years (plus Early Years Professional Status).

To support the participants as they encountered these challenges, a Facilitated Coaching Scheme was set up. Five coaches, each with a different portfolio of Early Years experience were employed by the University to offer one-to-one professional coaching to the New Leaders. An Evaluation of the Scheme was undertaken by the programme team and supported by a research intern.