Bristol Early Years Research and Development

Bristol Early Years Research
Life at Bristol Early Years Research and Development Life at Bristol Early Years Research and Development Life at Bristol Early Years Research and Development Life at Bristol Early Years Research and Development Life at Bristol Early Years Research and Development Life at Bristol Early Years Research and Development Life at Bristol Early Years Research and Development

Welcome to the Bristol Early Years Research Website

Our aim is to promote opportunities for rich professional learning and innovation through reflective practice and school/setting-based research and enquiry. This is a platform for sharing inspiring Early Years practice within Bristol and beyond. We invite you to access leading edge research findings and work collaboratively to explore, investigate and contribute new ideas.  This is your website...


Specialist Hubs

Specialist Hubs provide  opportunities for practitioner reflection, creativity and innovation. Working collaboratively, practitioners explore an area of interest, guided by a research question and supported by a research mentor. Findings are documented to inform decisions about provision and how to improve learning experiences and outcomes for children and families.


The Specialist Hubs shown reflect Bristol Early Years current priorities. We welcome your ideas for future Early Years Hubs.

Click on the segments above or use the top menu to view areas of interest.

"This is insider's research.  It is about all Early Years' settings having opportunities to take the initiative to think of what they want to find out, not just today but as a continuous way of innovation and self-improvement." 
Elizabeth Carruthers, Head, Redcliffe Nursery School and Children's Centre.

Research Focus

Research is also broadly categorised by whether it is based in an Early Years setting, as a result of university study, or a national publication.  Use the links below to read more.

Settings Based Research Post-Graduate Research National Research

Latest Post-Graduate Research

Anjali Lockett, Redcliffe Nursery School and Children's Centre, has recently published a piece of research investigating how young children's active, reflective dialogues and metacognitive thinking can be stimulated through engaging with documented learning narratives (learning stories and learning diaries), leading to increased participation in the process of documentation and assessment by the child and transformation of the practitioner researcher's practice.  The research works within a praxeological paradigm, seeking to uphold values of democracy, ethics and the rights to participation.  The research engages with current discourse on Article 12 of the United Nations rights of the Child, the right for the child to participate in all aspects of decision making and applies this to the researchers own practise in relation to assessing children's learning and the implications for wider practise amongst the early childhood workforce. Read here.

Further reading and publications

Every week we add new links to the 'Further Reading' sections within each of the Specialist Hubs, so whatever your interest in Early Years Research, you should find something to inspire you.  We also share research into more diverse subjects such as the use of technology in Early Years settings and learning through play.  Some articles do require a subscription, but others are more readily available.  If you have read any particularly inspiring or useful articles that relate to research in Early Years, please get in touch so we can share them on this website.


Case Studies

Knowle West Children's Centre and Nursery

Ukeleles and More: Building Social and Cultural Capital through Music.

Through this project, Knowle West hopes to raise the profile of Early Years music.  Working in conjunction with Soundwaves and Bill Roberts, KWCC conducted a research project using music as a focus. Read more about this exciting project.

Kate Humphres and Vicky Meadows ran the companion Soundwaves project alongside Ukuleles and More, at Badock's Wood Children's Centre in Southmead, looking at the impact of enhanced early years provision on young children's well-being and involvement levels.  Read more!

Speedwell Nursery School and Children's Centre Allotment Project

Speedwell Nursery School and Children’s Centre rent a Bristol City Council allotment site about 5 minutes’ walk from the setting. The allotment offers a peaceful environment, opportunities for sensory explorations, the chance to be in nature and a purposeful way of working alongside each other. It is a particularly effective place to work with children who are particularly vulnerable or have additional needs. This report describes sessions developed by Sarah and Luci, which aim to build children’s confidence, language, empathy and engagement in learning.

Luci Gorell Barnes and Sarah Hampson have worked together at Speedwell Nursery School and Children’s Centre for 12 years. In that time they have collaborated on many creative projects and wild interventions together. Sarah is a Specialist Nursery Nurse and Luci works as Artist and Gardener in Residence.

Sarah is a very experienced practitioner who specialises in supporting children to develop their speech and language. She works extensively with story telling and mapping, encouraging children to go deep into their imaginations and create their own stories.

Luci’s work uses a range of art forms to explore themes of childhood, isolation and belonging. She develops flexible and responsive processes to enable people to think imaginatively and her practice contributes to a community of disciplines including family support and education.

Read more about this exciting project...


 Bristol Early Years research reading list graphic



 4 Children logo4Children is a national charity 4 Children logofor children and families.  Promoting an integrated approach to children’s services, they work with a wide range of partners around the country to ensure children and families have access to the  support they need in their communities.   They have produced this parents guide which The Bristol Standard is encouraging providers to share with parents.  The 4Children website contains a wealth of information for practitioners and parents alike.




Follow us:     Twitter logo


Early Education - The British Association for Early Childhood Education announces its Annual National Conference, 5th to 6th May 2017.

Find out more and book your place.

Bristol Standard Network Meetings.

Download the 2017 Spring Flyer.

Continuing Professional Development

The current Bristol Early Years CPD offer is now available to view. Course providers include The Bristol Early Years Teaching Consortium, St Werburgh’s Park Nursery School and BAND. Go to Bristol Early Years CPD for more information.

See also the Bristol Early Years Network Training offer (N, EC, S)

Developing a Research Lead

Redcliffe Nursery and Children's Centre have announced a new 'Developing a Research Lead' course.  It will run over 3 1/2 days from June 2016 to May 2017.  Download course details here.

Ofsted News:

Read about the latest guidance Ofsted have issued to their inspectors about inspecting Safeguarding in EY settings.

Download: Inspecting safeguarding in early years, skills and education settings.

Other recently advertised courses are:

Differentiated Early Years Outcomes (DEYO)

A group of special school Early Years teachers and local authority officers have built on the government's EYFS Outcomes document and published the Differentiated Early Years Outcomes (DEYO) assessment document to support the assessment of children with special needs in all settings.   To download this document, click here or on the image below.  The document is password protected.  If you're unsure of your password, please contact your lead teacher or a member of the Early Years Inclusion Team. 

If you are located outside Bristol and would like a copy,  you can access this document for a small fee.  More information is available here.

Read more about the DEYO project here.

View sample pages

NEW Planning Support Pack for the Under 3s.

Under 3s Planning Support Pack

The Birth to Three Centres of Excellence have  published their new Under 3s Planning Support Pack. Overflowing with advice and great ideas for inspired and thoughtful planning, this is not only a great hands-on guide, but is also an inspirational read to further enhance great practice.

Download the Under 3s Planning Support Pack.

Implementation study: Integrated Review at 2- 2½ Years - Integrating the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Progress Check and the Healthy Child Programme (HCP) health and development review.   Read the findings.


Latest Tweets