KEYNOTE I | PROF. KATHY SYLVA - Helping parents support learning at home: workshops, apps and more!

Professor Kathy Sylva is an expert on child development and education, with particular expertise in the effects of early education (including parenting) on children's development. She is well-known for longitudinal studies and for robust trials of interventions both in the UK and in low-income contexts. Her research interests follow two themes. She was Principal Investigator on the Effective Pre-school and Primary Education study ( EPPE/EPPSE), a study of 3000 children from pre-school entry to the end of compulsory schooling, and the largest such study in Europe. Her second interest is in interventions aimed at improving child’s learning and behaviour. She led three randomised controlled trials evaluating interventions, the most recent being an intervention supporting early reading prior to school. Together, the findings of these studies have directly informed policy decisions in the UK. She is frequently asked to advise on education matters nationally and internationally. She was a Specialist Adviser to the UK Parliamentary Select Committee on Education 2000-2009, the U.K. Tickell Review of the early childhood curriculum in 2011. In 2014-15 she was specialist advisor to the Parliamentary Enquiry into ‘ Affordable Childcare ’. Kathy has published 7 books and more than 200 papers on early education, early literacy, and ways to support families. Kathy was awarded an OBE in 2008 for services to children and families and the British Education Association’s Nisbett Award for outstanding contribution to educational research in 2014. She is a Fellow of the British Psychological Society and a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences.


KEYNOTE I SYNOPSIS: Helping parents support learning at home: workshops, apps and more!



KEYNOTE II | DR MARGY WHALLEY - Recognising the powerful learning that is going on in the home - collaborating with parents as co-educators. 

Dr Margy Whalley was the founding Director of the Pen Green Centre for Children and their Families and worked there from 1983 to 2016. She has an MA in Community Education. The focus for her PhD was Leadership in Integrated Centres across the UK and was undertaken with support from the National Children’s Bureau and the Van Leer Foundation. In 1996 she was seconded to the Open University for 18 months where she worked with community groups across the UK and developed and published course materials for parents wanting to increase their knowledge and understanding of child development.

Pen Green was one of the first six Early Excellence centres and Margy was heavily involved in the development of the Early Excellence Centre programme in 1997 across England. She was appointed to the Advisory board of the National Early Excellence Evaluation programme and the DfES Early Years Advisory Group and worked as an Advisor to Margaret Hodge MP (Minister for Children and Families). Pen Green became a trailblazer Surestart Centre, received a grant as a Neighbourhood Nursery and was one of the first Children’s Centres. Margy chaired the DfE National Reference Group for Children’s Centres from 2008 to 2010. Margy was instrumental in setting up the Pen Green Research, Development and Training Base and Leadership centre on the Pen Green campus in 1997 and has been involved in research, training and consultancy work on policy transfer and the development of integrated services in Germany, Portugal, New Zealand, Australia and Malaysia.
On a personal note Margy has a wonderful 40 year old daughter and is grandmother to three gorgeous grandchildren; Molly (12 years), Tom (9 years) and, a future civil rights activist, Harriet (6 years).
Margy’s commitment to developing emancipatory practice that transforms the life chances of the children continues unabated in retirement and she is keen to engage with educational projects that make a difference.


KEYNOTE II SYNOPSISRecognising the powerful learning that is going on in the home - collaborating with parents as co-educators.