Staff profile

Ellen Yates

Senior Lecturer in Early Childhood, Programme Leader MA Childhood


Education, Childhood and SEND


College of Arts, Humanities and Education


Institute of Education


Kedleston Road, Derby Campus



I am a senior lecturer in Early Childhood and currently the programme leader for the MA Childhood. I  also teach on BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies, where I am the Stage 3 leader.

Teaching responsibilities

I teach a core module, Positioning Childhood, on MA Childhood and two core modules at stage 3 of BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies; the final year research module, Independent Studies; and a practitioner-based module, The Critically Reflective Practitioner. I also teach two undergraduate option modules which reflect my interests: at Stage 2, Emerging Literacies in the Early Years and, at Stage 3, Creative Opportunities and Possibilities.

Professional interests

I am interested in children and young peoples’ participation and agency through play, creativity and literacy.

Research interests

I have completed research into leadership in the early years looking at the how leaders conceptualise their role. As a ceramic artist, I am interested in creativity and have completed research into student creativity and confidence and the place of creativity in early years practice.  I also completed some joint staff/student research on children’s views on play provision, which resulted in the renovation and upgrade of a children's play park in Nottinghamshire.  My most recent  research into children’s meaning-making (how they make sense of life events) culminated in a children's ceramic arts exhibition and presentation at The Museum For All People conference  in Madrid, where the project won an award for Sustainability and Interaction with the Environment. I am planning a further staff /student research project for Jan 2020 with Derby Museum and Art Gallery to increase access to and interaction with the World collection with colleagues. 

Membership of professional bodies

I am a fellow of the Higher Education Academy.


Recent conferences

I have recently presented papers at the following events:

Yates, E (2018) Why are there no Great Women Artists? The positioning of women artists within Fine Art and craft.  Paper Presentation. Marion Adnams Symposium.  University of Derby.  7.3.18

Yates, E. & Oates, R. (2018) ‘Children’s views on play provision in two local parks- a joint research project by early childhood studies students and staff presentation at EECERA Conference ‘Early Childhood Education, Families and Communities’  Budapest, Hungary  

A Child’s World International Conference ‘News Shoes, New Directions’  Aberystwyth University, Wales 11-13 July 2018

Yates, E and Szenasi, J (2019) Earth, Water, Air; Engaging the local community in cultural heritage through a children’s ceramic arts exhibition. Poster Presentation at International Congress "The museum for all people: art, accessibility and social integration" Consorcio MUSACCES - Universidad Complutense, Madrid. 3.4.19 - 6.4.19 Presented as an academic poster and won the  award for ‘Sustainability and interaction with the environment’.

Experience in industry

International experience

Additional interests and activities

I am a ceramic artist in my spare time and have had past exhibitions at Derby Museum and Art Gallery; One Step Beyond (2011); Wirksworth Festival (2011); and Royal Derby Hospital,  Evolve (2013) and Melbourne Festival Art and Architecture Trail (2019). I work out of a studio in Alvaston, Derby, alongside others and have regular open studio events in November each year.

Recent publications

Oates, R. Sanders, A. Hey, C. White, J. Wood, V. Yates, E. (2009) Making a Little Difference for Early Childhood Studies Students in Papathaedourou, T and Moyles, J (Eds) (2009) Learning Together in the Early Years , Exploring Relational Pedagogy. Abingdon:Routledge

Yates, E. and Appleby, M.(2014)   The Emerging Practitioner  in Oates, R  & Hey, C  (2014) The Student Practitioner in Early Childhood Studies  Routledge : Abingdon

Simmons, H and  Yates, E (2014)  Leadership in Early Childhood : Leaders Views on Their role  in  Thomas, M ( Editor)  (2014) A Child's World Contemporary issues in education : CAA Aberystwyth University ; Aberystwyth

Yates, E and Twigg, E (2016) Developing Creativity in Early Childhood Studies Students Thinking Skills and Creativity 23C (2017) pp 42-47 DOI information 10.1016/j.tsc.2016.11.001 

Yates, E. (2018) 'Play' in Johnston, J., Nahmad-Williams, L., Oates, R. & Wood, V. (eds) (2018) Early Childhood Studies: Principles and Practice (2nd edition) Abingdon: Routledge 

Twigg, E. and Yates, E. (2019) Student reflections on the place of creativity in Early Years practice: Reflections on second year work placement experienceThinking Skills and Creativity, 31, pg 335-345