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Miss Helen Bradford
Room 550
UCL Institute of Education
20 Bedford Way
Tel: 0(+44) 20 7612 6038
  • Senior Teaching Fellow
  • IOE - Learning & Leadership
  • UCL Institute of Education

An early years specialist, my research focuses on  children from as young as two years old and their engagement with writing. My research incorporates aspects of child development, including how children learn through play, from both a national and international perspective. I have a keen interest in developing appropriate ethical frameworks when undertaking research with very young children. I have also been involved in research in the area of literacy and writing with older primary-aged children.

Prior to joining UCL IOE I was a teaching associate at the Faculty of Education University of Cambridge where I was coordinator for the early years PGCE course and a tutor and supervisor on a Masters course called Researching Practice. I developed extensive international experience teaching abroad, having been involved in the development and delivery of the Kazakhstan Project, a CPD programme for teachers in Kazakhstan, between 2011 and 2015. I made 11 trips to different regions in the country during this time either to teach the programme or to mentor accredited trained teachers.

I have previously taught in early years settings in Cambridge, having gained my PGCE in Early Years in 1999. I am still involved in one setting in particular as a governor, heading the Curriculum Committee.

Research Summary

My PhD thesis was entitled ‘Co-constructing Writing Pedagogy with Two-and-Three-Year-Old-Children’. This research built on findings from a Masters degree looking at three-and-four-year-olds’ perceptions of themselves as writers. 

I have been/am involved in the following recent research projects:
  • 2017-18. Teaching Writing Research Project (TWRP). TWRP seeks to investigate effective writing teaching by bringing together teachers’ expert knowledge of practice with researcher’s knowledge of theory and evidence in order to develop new practices within a consortium of six London primary schools. 
  • 2016-17. Drive for Literacy (DfL) model for SEND and Inclusion. An evaluation of the first year of trialling the DfL model in the wider state school sector. 
  • 2013-2015. Play, learning and narrative writing skills (PLaNS) (Funded by the LEGO Foundation) with Dr David Whitebread at the Faculty of Education University of Cambridge. This two-year study involved three Cambridgeshire schools and investigated the use of Lego models as a preparatory stimulus for children’s writing across Y1, Y3, and Y5. (Associate Investigator).
  • 2012-2015. Ministry of Stories with Professor Dominic Wyse at UCL Institute of Education. This was a three year longitudinal research evaluation of the ways in which the work of the Ministry of Stories (MoS), an out-of-school writing club, contributed to the writing of young in relation to their motivation, creativity, writing attainment, and expression. (Research Associate).

I have written and published extensively in the area of children’s early language and literacy with a particular focus on early writing.

Teaching Summary

I am a Programme Leader for the MA in Early Years Education (online) Programme.
I am Module Leader on the MA in Early Years Education (face-to-face) for Researching Early Years and Primary Practice.
I additionally lecture and teach across the range of modules on the MA in Early Years Education course, both online and face-to-face, and supervise dissertation students.

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