Staff profile

Dr Helen Simmons

Senior Lecturer for BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies, Pathway Leader for MA Education (Early Years Pathway)

Headshot of Helen Simmons smiling


Education, Childhood and SEND


College of Arts, Humanities and Education


Institute of Education




Kedleston Road, Derby Campus



I am a Senior Lecturer for the BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies and Pathway Leader of the MA Education (Early Years Pathway) at the University of Derby.

Teaching responsibilities

I lecture across the BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies and Masters in Education within the Institute of Education with module leadership and delivery, including Independent Study, Wellbeing from Birth, Children's Workforce Development, Children’s Places and The Critically Reflective Practitioner.

Professional interests

As a strategy group member of the Early Childhood Studies Degrees Network, I am actively involved in supporting the early years workforce. This includes activities to promote the development of a graduate led early years workforce, with recent initiatives including the development of the Early Childhood Graduate Practitioner Competencies. The University of Derby were one of eight early adopters of these competencies with the pilot year running in 2018/19.

Research interests

I have undertaken research and publication relating to leadership in the early years and early years policy. I have been awarded a Doctor of Education qualification, with my research focused on the social and cultural pressures within modern motherhood, drawing on the reflections of research participants, my professional knowledge and my personal experience as a mother to two young children.

Membership of professional bodies

Strategy Group Membership - Early Childhood Studies Degrees Network (ECSDN)


Recent conferences

Simmons, H. (2018) Problematizing Motherhood: Oppression, Empowerment and ‘Being Good Enough’. Early Childhood Studies Degrees Network (ECSDN) Conference, Hamilton House, London (January).

Simmons, H. (2017) Exploring modern motherhood: the motivations and experiences of mothers of children aged 0-3 years who have attended universal parenting classes. Early Childhood Studies visit, Mediterranean College, Greece (March).

Simmons, H. (2015) Exploring modern motherhood: the motivations and experiences of mothers of children aged 0-3 years who have attended universal parenting classes. BERA Conference, Queen’s University, Belfast (September).

Yates, E. & Simmons, H. (2012) Leadership in Early Childhood: Leaders’ Views on Their Role. A Child’s World: Working Together for a Better Future Conference. Aberystwyth University, Wales (June).

Experience in industry

Before joining the University of Derby in 2008 I was the Course Organiser and Lecturer on the CACHE Diploma in Child Care and Education and BTEC National Diploma Early Years at Coventry City College. Prior to this, I lectured on vocational early years programmes at Longley Sixth Form College in Sheffield and at Sutton Coldfield College. Before my experience in Further Education, I enjoyed working as a private nanny and in early years settings working with very young children.

In the media

Radio interviews on Radio Derby on the subjects of: Online parenting, behaviour of 2 year olds, school starting age and television for very young children.

Recent publications

Simmons, H. (2019) 'Surveillance of Modern Motherhood: An exploration of the experiences of mothers that have attended a Universal Parenting Course'. EdD Thesis. University of Derby, UK.

Nahmad-Williams, L. & Simmons, H. (2018) 'Early Education' in Johnston, J., Nahmad-Williams, L., Oates, R. & Wood, V. (2018) Early Childhood Studies: Policy and Practice (2nd Ed). Routledge. London, UK.

Simmons, H. and Yates, E. (2014) 'Leadership in Early Childhood: Leaders Views on Their Role' in Thomas, M (Ed) A Child's World: Contemporary Issues in Education.Aberyswyth CAA. Aberyswyth University. 

Yates, E. and Simmons, H. (2014) 'The Student Practitioner as a Future Leader'. in Oates, R. and Hey, C (2014) The Student Practitioner in Early Childhood Studies.Routledge. London, UK.