Staff profile

Dr Ruby Oates

Head of Childhood Studies, Deputy Head of Education and Childhood


College of Arts, Humanities and Education


Institute of Education

Research centre

Centre for Educational Research and Innovation


Kedleston Road, Derby Campus



I am Head of Childhood Studies with particular responsibility for the BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies and the BA (Hons) Child & Youth Studies, and I am a Deputy Head within the Department of Education and Childhood in the College of Arts, Humanities and Education. I am also  Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and co-lead the Childhood Research Cluster here at the University of Derby.

Teaching responsibilities

Childhood Studies undergraduate programmes; sociological and psychological perspectives. Research methodologies and early childhood studies.  Doctoral supervision.

Professional interests

Professionalisation of early childhood workforce.

Research interests

Professionality and professionalism in early childhood; power and politics in the construction of the early childhood worker; reflective practice; relational pedagogy, the social construction of childhood; gender, power and education.


I am currently involved in a local community research project with Ashfield District Council whereby our Early Childhood Studies students are evaluating two play spaces in the village of Huthwaite in north Nottinghamshire and have also worked with young children from two local schools to ascertain their views on play spaces in local park. Academic colleague Ellen Yates and I also  are conducting research with parents and older children and the final report will be published with the council in the summer of 2016. 

Membership of professional bodies

  • British Sociological Association.
  • European Early Childhood Education Research Association.
  • Early Childhood Studies Degree Network.
  • Gender & Education Society
  • Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy



Recent conferences

Most recent:

Autumn 2015: The Voices of European Teachers Conference, 24 - 26 September 2015 at the University of Palackeho, Olomouc, Tsjech Republic, where I was the opening keynote speaker, the title of my opening speech was 'The European Teacher Championing Children in Europe and Beyond: Moving Forward Together'.

Spring 2016: University College Copenhagen, Denmark, International Conference, 29 February - 2 March 2016. I had the privilege of teaching two groups of students as well as meeting conference participants from across the world. 

Experience in industry

School Teaching. Human Relations. Youth Work.

International experience

Led the development of the European collaborative in two regions of Greece for  the Department of Education and Childhood.

Additional interests and activities

Scuba diving and marine conservation.

In the media

Two appearances on BBC Radio Derby's Breakfast Show discussing issues in relation to topics such as childhood, gender and toy choices, commercialisation of childhood, children and TVs in bedrooms. Previously, BBC TV East Midlands Today on an item on men working as practitioners in early childhood settings.

Recent publications