Staff profile

Sue Wilcockson

Partnership Coordinator (Early Years Initial Teacher Training)

Sue Wilcockson reading to a young child


College of Arts, Humanities and Education


Institute of Education


Derby Campus



I work within the Department of Professional Studies as the Partnership Coordinator (Early Years Initial Teacher Training). In my role I work closely with partnership settings to provide a range of quality early years and enhanced placement opportunities for Early Years Teacher trainees. I am involved in all aspects of the delivery of the Early Years Teacher Status programme within the University. In addition, I work as a University Assessment Mentor. In this role I visit Early Years Teacher trainees in placement and complete observations and assessments in conjuction with their setting mentor.

Professional interests

My professional interests focus around the young child and how early years practice and provision supports their learning and development. I am particularly interested in innovative practices and how alternative educational pedagogies can influence the delivery of the Early Years Foundation Stage.

Research interests

My research interests focus on the early years sector and the practice and provision for young children. My dissertation for my BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies considered the sustainability of rural playgroups whilst meeting the demand for childcare for working parents. Whilst undertaking my Masters in Education, I researched the opportunities for children to take measured risks within their outdoor play opportunties and also looked at the impact of display within early years settings and how this can detract from children's concentration. My Masters dissertation focussed around the use of natural resouces providing open ended play experiences for young children.

Membership of professional bodies

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy


BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies, University of Derby

Early Years Professional Status, Manchester Metropolitan University

MA Education (Early Years), University of Derby

Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education

Recent conferences

The Early Years Teacher Status team deliver an annual early years conference. As a member of the team, I have been involved in the planning and delivery of the conference each year it has been held.

Experience in industry

I have worked in the early years sector for over 26 years. I initially started working within a rural pre-school playgroup as an assistant. I took over as the owner/manager of this playgroup in 1996 until 2009. During this time I saw many changes to the early years sector including the implementation of the Early Years Foundation Stage and the introduction of Ofsted inspections. In 2006, I undetook the pilot programme for the Early Years Professional Status and in 2007, I commenced working on the Early Years Professional Status programme at the University of Derby. Since 2007, I have been involved in all aspects of delivery of this programme leading to my role in September 2015 as Partnership Coordinator.

In addition to my work with the University, I undertook training as an Early Years Ofsted Inspector. I carried out regular early years inspections of day care providers, childminders and out of school clubs from 2013 to 2015.

In the media

Nursery World - Lack of action threatens Early Years Teacher Status