UWTSD Early Years students showcase publications with the Early Childhood Studies Degree Network.


Six students from the BA Early Years course at The University of Wales Trinity Saint David have recently showcased their work on the Early Childhood Studies Degree Network.

UWTSD Early Years students showcase publications with the Early Childhood Studies Degree Network.

This is an opportunity for students from any university studying an Early Childhood degree to showcase their work, and this year UWTSD students Sara Llwyd, Kelly Blenkinsop-Clarke, Emily Evans, Holly Dennis, Rachel Hopkins, and Sacha Jarvis were successful. 

Glenda Tinney, Senior Lecturer on the Early Years programmes said: “We are delighted to see our students published in the Early Childhood Studies Degree network. The publications included exploration of outdoor learning, Additional Learning Needs legislation and practice in Wales and education for sustainability. These are also areas promoted as part of the Welsh Government's early years programmes and new curriculum, and thus our students' work is also showcasing and providing a significant voice across the UK for Welsh early years policy and practice.

"Our students study a varied degree, which includes a variety of learning opportunities, assignments and placements linking theory with practice. Our Early Years Education and Care degrees provide opportunities for discussion and practical tasks and the articles published by the Early Childhood Studies Degree Network reflect this.”

Holly Dennis’ publication discussed sustainability in the early years and it linked in with the John Muir award. This award provided by the John Muir Trust encourages people to engage with the natural world, be inspired and do something to support conservation. 

Holly feels passionate about sustainability and as it’s such a raw topic at the moment, she felt that this publication was needed. Holly sees this opportunity as a,

“‘pinch me’ moment. Never did I think my work was good enough let alone for publication. This has been a highlight of my degree and has boosted my confidence. I feel really proud to be able to say, that’s my work.”

Holly’s currently studying for an MA degree which may lead her into teaching Early Years. Looking back at her time as a student, Holly said: “I feel that I have become more resilient as a person, part of this due to completing a majority of the degree during the pandemic. This course has made me believe in myself, something I found hard to do before and I have gained confidence in the last 3 years.”

Emily Evans is a third-year student at UWTSD. She explored in her publication how outdoor experiences and in particular beach and rockpool activities can support young children's holistic development and learning.

Emily said: “As a mother of two children aged 13 and 7, I am passionate about the opportunities of learning experiences within play and how this supports holistic development. Growing up in the countryside I had the opportunity to learn through exploration and hope every child can experience the same. The Early Years Education and Care degree has provided me with the opportunity to enhance my knowledge and further my development.”

Kelly Blenkinsop- Clarke has recently completed her degree in Early Years Education and Care with UWTSD. She wrote about ‘Leading change: The impending changes of Additional Learning Needs in Wales.’

She said: “I have three children myself and work in a nursery class within a primary school. My passion in life is wanting to make a difference in the lives of children. The degree has been an invaluable experience and I have gained extensive knowledge, understanding and awareness of topics within the early year's education and care profession. I have enjoyed using what I have learnt during my degree into practice.”

Rachel Hopkins is in her final year at UWTSD. Her publication discusses ‘The Additional Learning Needs (ALN) Transformation Programme in Wales’.

Over the past twelve years, Rachel has worked in many roles within education and has never had a day where she hasn’t loved her job. Recently Rachel has been working in an SLD classroom where she has had the privilege of supporting children to develop their learning outcomes.

Sacha Jarvis is a Higher-Level Teaching Assistant and has been working in a school setting in Early Years for 15 years. She’s coming towards the end of her degree at UWTSD and looks forward to seeing what the future holds for her. Her publication discussed SEN Practice. She said,

“The topic is very close to my heart as I have an exceptional little boy who himself has ALN. I relished researching the new ALN Act to help me with both my work and personal life. I am delighted to see my work on ALN published for others to see. I am very passionate about ALN and I hope the literature will help support readers.”

Sara Llwyd’s article was about the ‘Implications of the Additional Learning Needs and Education Tribunal (Wales) 2018 Act for Early Years Education and Care practice in Wales.’ She said that the work,

“started life as a poster and presentation which was an assignment for one of the modules as part of the degree course, and later evolved into a paper. I already had experience working in the sector, and an interest in the changes in the system for those involved with Additional Learning Needs provision. The more research and reading I did, the more questions I had, and the more I realised that policy and practice need to be joined up to work effectively.

“Having validation from such experienced and knowledgeable experts in the field that my work was worthy of publication has boosted my confidence.  I remain interested in the lived experience of children with ALN and practitioners who work with them and their families.”

Sara’s extremely proud of her achievements and feels in debt to her tutors which she found inspiring and felt that she could go to them at any time for advice. As Sara’s career develops working for a Local Authority supporting a range of Childcare settings, her wish is to attend further training to enable her to deliver training and education about Early Years to others. She adds,   

“I don’t think that you ever stop learning, and now that my enthusiasm has been fired up, I hope to continue learning and sharing that knowledge with others, in the hope that it enhances the experiences of children in Wales.”

Further Information

Lowri Thomas, Principal Communications and PR Officer

07449 998476