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Dr Helen Perkins

Dr Helen Perkins

Senior Lecturer in Childhood and Family Studies

  • Email address
  • Phone number 01902 322219
  • Location University of Wolverhampton Walsall Campus Gorway Road Walsall WS1 3BD
  • Faculty Faculty of Education Health & Wellbeing
  • Institute Institute of Education
  • Areas of expertise

    ECSDN Early Childhood Graduate Competencies

    Professionalisation  in the Early Years workforce

    Men working in Early Childhood

    College based Higer Education

    Embedding the Early Childhood Graduate practitioenr CompetenciesEarly Childhood Studies Degree Network

I have been teaching Early Childhood Education and Care in further and higher education since 2002, I started  my career in FE as a tutor, then course leader for  Higher education programmes and more recently as Head of School for Early Childhood Studies. I joined the University of Wolverhampton in July 2015 as senior lecturer in Childhood and Family studies. I have experience working in the Early Years Foundation Stage and with children with additional needs. I have recently completed research on the impact of HE on practitioners professional and personal development and a project for the HEA on creative teaching of research methods. I have a Doctorate in Education (ECE). My research interest is centered on the professionalisation of the ECE workforce. I had the privilege of serving as an expert panel member for the recent Nutbrown Review of Early Years qualifications.

I teach a selection of modules in Childhood and Family Studies including, Working with Individuals and Groups, Rights, Responsibilities and Advocacy, The Role of Play and Professional Roles.


Module Leader

Senior Lecturer for Childhood and Family Studies. This role involves teaching, learning and assessment, planning and preparing lectures and marking of assessments. I supervise level 6 students through their project and am module leader for Working with Individuals and Groups, Developing Professionals and Leading Quality in the Early Years. I have responsibility for work placements for Early Childhood Studies students and I visit students in their work placements.


I lead on the ECSDN Early Chidlhood Graduate Competencies - developing graduate level practice

I am a personal tutor, supporting students through their Childhood and Family studies courses to enrich the student experience.  

Men in Early Childhood Education and Care

Professionalisation of the Early Years Workforce

Early Childhood Studies Visions and Values project in collaboration with Sheffield Hallam University and the University of Wolverhampton’s  Early Years Employer Exchange Forum

Enterprise, Knowledge Transfer & Consultancy 

Academic Advisor for The London Early Years Foundation (LEYF)

Early Years Educator Consultant for BTEC /Pearson

HEA funded Project: Creative Research Methods in College Based Higher Education collaboration with Prof. Alex Kendall BCU

QAA funded project ‘Transitions’ collaboration with  Prof. Alex Kendall BCU


Early Childhood Studies degree - Executive member: Research Knowledge Exchange

ECEERA - European Early Childhood Education Research Association

BERA – British Education Research Association

TACTYC – Association for Professional Development in Early years

CREC (Centre for Research in Early Childhood) – Learning Circle

Doctor of Education (ECE), 2017.

MA in Early Childhood Education  (University of Sheffield), 2008.

Post Graduate Certificate in Education FAHE), 2004.

Advanced Diploma in Childcare and Education, 2001.

C&G 730 Certificate in Teaching Further & Adult  Education, 1991.


Edwards, Perkins and O'Sullivan (2019)Men in Childcare: Does it matter to children, what do they say? (Stage 2)  London Early Years Foundation: read the report here:

Perkins, H. (2019)  The Use of Identity Boxes as a Research Methodological Tool. (in Innovative research methods in Early Years, Brown and Perkins Eds.) London: Routledge

Brown, Z and Perkins, H. (eds) (2019)  Innovative research methods in Early Years: Beyond the conventional. London: Routledge

Brown, Z. Edwards, T. and Perkins, H. (2017) The placement journey: Do year one placement modules support Childhood Studies students’ professional development? Journal of Adult and Continuing Education Volume: 23 issue: 2, page(s): 162-177

 Perkins, H. (2017) From Training to Qualification: The journey of Level 3 early years student-practitioners. EdD thesis, University of Sheffield.

 The Nutbrown Review:  Foundations for Quality: The independent review of early education and childcare qualifications (contributor)

Kendall, A. & Perkins, H. (2014) Creative Research Methods in College Based Higher Education (2014) Higher Education Academy, York

Kendall,A.  DCarey, D. Cramp, A. & Perkins, H. (2012): Barriers and solutions to HE progression for Early Years’ practitioners, Journal of Vocational Education & Training,

 Salmon, G. (2011) E-Moderating. Case Study 

Various contributions to Nursery World


Conference Presentations

2019 EECERA Conference, Thessaloniki, Greece. Gender SIG: Men in Childcare: Does it matter to children, what do they say? 

2019 ECSD Research Conference: Men in Childcare, What do the children say?

2018 ECSDN Research Conference: The value of placement in Early Childhood Studies Degrees

2017 EECERA Conference, Bologna, Italy: Early Childhood Education Beyond the Crisis: Social Justice, Solidarity and Children’s Rights . A work in progress: The developing level 3 practitioner

2016 University of Wolverhampton Early Years Conference: Conference theme: ‘Parent Partnerships in the Early Years’ Developing Professional Identity


Oxford Brookes ACP Conference

Creative methods in teaching Research Skills

TACTYC Birmingham

Presentation: Early Years Student Journey to Practitioner Status


Higher Education in the Globalised Age - A One Day Research Conference

University of Sheffield

Listening to old wives tales: small stories as the stuff of professional learning – identity


HE and FE Collaboration: Commensalism, partisanism or mutualism (2014)  Key Note speaker to West Midlands Post 1992 forum. HEA Social Sciences Workshop: Developing a Research-led culture with in post 1992 education departments.


Pearson /Edexcel  Early Years Conference: Professionalisation of the Early Years Workforce


IPDA International Professional Development Association July 2013, Aston University:

Listening to old wives tales: small stories as the stuff of professional learning


Birmingham City University Research Conference June 2013

Listening to old wives tales: small stories as the stuff of professional learning: Research Methods


Men in Childcare (2013) London Early Years Foundation (LEYF)

Developing the Early Years Workforce (20113) Capita Conference: London


Higher Education Academy - Research Methods in Social Sciences Conference, Liverpool June 2013.Listening to old wives tales: small stories as the stuff of professional learning: Research Methods


BECERA (2013) The Phenomenon of Placement as a Vehicle for Professional Development.


Birmingham, Black Country and Solhull Lifelong Learning Network Conference

Progression: towards a ‘fit for purpose’ progression model for early years Practitioners:  Final report of the Barriers and Solutions project


Quality Improvement Agency Conference London

 Presentation of research: Learners as researchers.



Head of school for Early Years and Childhood Studies in FE: 2005 to 2015.

To provide academic leadership in relation to people management, student recruitment and carry out staff appraisal, probationary meetings and overseeing staff the management of staff including workloads. To develop the curriculum offer to include FE, Adult learning, Apprenticeships and HE.

To work collaboratively with HE partners to develop the HE offer. To maintain quality and standards in HE and FE programmes. This included validating the courses and keeping abreast of changes in the field, ensuring the curriculum offer was in line with current policy and practice. In addition I have developed an HE research group and contributed to the staff development programme

I have collaboratively written and developed Foundation Degree in Special Educational Needs, Disability and Inclusive Practice

I also supported level 6 dissertation supervision. I gained Senior Fellowship of the HEA and  mentored colleagues through their HEA applications

Lecturer in Early Years and Childhood Studies: Planning for teaching, learning and assessment across a range of programmes for full time, part time adult and HE learners. 2002 to 2005.

Personal tutor

Programme leader for Teaching Assistants Certificates Programmes, the Sector Endorsed Foundation Degree in Early Years and Playwork Certificates.

Responsibility for the resources and the learning environment

Foundation Stage Senior Practitioner: 1996 to 2002.

Assessing and managing learning for children 3 -5yrs

Running parent group

Training and developing team of TAs

Student practitioner mentor

Managing resources

Various roles in ECEC 1992-2002

 Early Childhood Studies Degree Network (ECSDN) Executive member

Memeber of the Employer Exchange Forum. University of Wolverhampton

Expert Panel Member for The Nutbrown Review:  Foundations for Quality: The independent review of early education and childcare qualifications

Reviewer for Edexcel / Pearson Qualifications

Reviewer for:

European Early Childhood Education Research Journal

Early years : An International Research Journal

Re-approval of BA Early Childhood Studies at the University of  Chichester 

Periodic Review for the Foundation Degree in Early Years: Teeside University: External Academic Expert

Validation of HND Early Years for Solihull College: Academic and subject knowledge expert



ECSDN Research conference 2020

BRIC International Project Gothenburg June 2017: Preschool teachers, young children and parents in exploring democratic engagement in public and civic spaces.

 ISSA International Conference  October 2017: “Local Responses, Global Advances: Towards Competent Early Childhood Systems

 Provided Development training for:

Managing Behaviour

Questioning Techniques




Enhancing the Quality of the Student Experience

Developing Supervision Skills

Safeguarding Training

Safer Recruitment Training

Working with Babies and Children 0-5

Domestic Violence Awareness

Behaviour Management

Planning for Learning

Developing Early Literacy

Equality and Diversity

Disability and Inclusion