Nicola Stobbs

Nicola Stobbs.jpeg

Senior Lecturer and Course Leader for the BA Early Childhood in Society (Graduate Practitioner)

Children and Families

Contact Details

tel: 01905 542506

Nicola came to Worcester at the age of 18 to train as a teacher when the university was Worcester College of Higher Education. Living in Halls and student housing around the city, she loved her experience so much she was more than happy to accept a job at the university in 2012.

Nicola began her professional career as a primary school teacher in an area of economic and social deprivation, initially teaching Years Five and Six before moving to Year One. During this time Nicola assumed various leadership positions, including responsibility for creative play.

In 2000 Nicola became the manager of a pre-school near Worcester and enjoyed supporting children and families at a time of change and professionalisation for the early years workforce. It was during this time that she became interested in children’s friendships, particularly those who are socially withdrawn, and made this the focus of her masters dissertation.

Nicola became the course leader for the BA (Hons) Early Childhood (Professional Practice) in 2017, which was revalidated as the BA (Hons) Early Childhood in Society (Graduate Practitioner) in 2019

During her time at the university Nicola has been fortunate to be involved with some amazing colleagues and exciting initiatives.

Some highlights include:

  • Undertaking funded research with Guru Nanak nursery in Smethwick to increase the vocabulary of children self-identified by families as experiencing language delay.
  • Working with kinship carers to support their parenting needs.
  • Organising an event at the Hive for local stakeholders related to kinship care at the Hive, including the local MP, city councillors, solicitors, teachers, academics, and kinship carers.
  • Working with kinship children to discover more about their lived experience and accompanying them on a visit to Parliament to present the findings to an APPG.
  • Working with students as researchers to create a toolkit for supporting children’s positive behaviour aged 0-5 years.
  • Developing a new degree underpinned by social pedagogy, to reflect student feedback for more diverse placements and employment outcomes.
  • Writing, editing and contributing to research papers, books and chapters.

Nicola is committed to enhancing students’ experience of HE and training a workforce that is dedicated to doing their best for children and families.


  • Bachelor of Education (Hons)


  • MA Early Childhood


  • Early Years Professional Status

  • PGcert Teaching and Learning in HE and Fellow of the HEA (achieved 2014)

Teaching & Research

Teaching Interests

  • Early Years
  • Primary School
  • Parenting
  • Behaviour management
  • Social Pedagogy
  • The influence of family, community, and culture on children’s learning
  • Curriculum for thinking children.

Research Interests

  • Kinship Care
  • Children’s Language enrichment
  • Behaviour management
  • Children’s social withdrawal
  • Early Years work-based learning
  • GRT displacement
  • Children’s play

Professional Bodies

  • Member of TACTYC


Stobbs, N. (2019) The play, pedagogy, learning and teaching divide: can we close the gap? TACTYC Reflections. Available at:

Alcock, S. & Stobbs, N. (eds) (2019) Rethinking Play as Pedagogy. Oxon. Routledge

Stobbs, N. (2019) Time to Talk? Nursery World (4-17 Feb 2019 edition)

Stobbs, N. & Prowle, A. (2017) Kith and Kin Nursery World: (16-29 Oct 2017 edition)

Prowle, A. & Stobbs, N. (2017) Nursery World: Good to Talk (1-14 May 2017 edition).

Stobbs, N. & Musgrave, J. (2017) Learning in the Workplace. In Musgrave, J. Savin-Baden, M. & Stobbs, N. (eds) (2017) Studying for Your Early Years Degree: skills and knowledge for becoming an effective practitioner. St Albans. Critical Publishing Ltd

Stobbs, N. & Gallagher, S. (2017) Assessment and feedback, in Musgrave, J. Savin-Baden, M. & Stobbs, N. (eds) (2017) Studying for Your Early Years Degree: skills and knowledge for becoming an effective practitioner. St Albans. Critical Publishing Ltd

Musgrave, J. Savin-Baden, M. & Stobbs, N. (eds) (2017) Studying for Your Early Years Degree: skills and knowledge for becoming an effective practitioner. St Albans. Critical Publishing Ltd

Fleet, Patterson & Robertson (2017) Pedagogical Documentation in Early Years Practice; seeing through multiple perspectives. London. Sage.

  • Chapter 3: Stobbs, N. Harvell, J. & Reed, M. Developing PD within the EYFS curriculum framework;
  • Chapter 8: Reed, M. & Stobbs, N. Developing undergraduate student practitioners’ knowledge and practice;
  • Chapter 11: Walker, R. Reed, M. & Stobbs, N. Processes and materials to support professional understanding of Pedagogical Documentation.

Stobbs, N. & Prowle, A. (2016/17) Becoming a kinship carer – education and support needs of grandparents who are parenting. International Journal of Birth and Parenting (Vol 4, issue 2, Winter 2016/7).

Musgrave, J. & Stobbs, N. (2015) Proper Placements Nursery World, (13-26 July Edition)

Musgrave, J. & Stobbs, N. (2015) Early Years Placements: A Critical Guide to Outstanding Work-Based Learning. Northwich. Critical Publishing Ltd

Recent presentation of papers:

23.6.21 Presentation of co-authored paper at the Thempra and SPA (Social Pedagogy Association Asociación de Pedagogía Social) international online conference, Social Pedagogy and Social Education: Here and Now – Creating Hope in Dystopia, (22-24 June 2021). The presentation title was, ‘Utopia as Method and Early Childhood Studies: Personal Political Potential and Practitioner Power’.

8.2.20 Foundation Degree Conference, It’s all About Relationships. University of Worcester. Facilitation of Workshop: Strengthening relationships in Kinship Families: the role of the practitioner. Co-facilitated with Alison Prowle

19.6.18 CCF Partnership Research Conference Presentation of Paper: Children’s social withdrawal

29.8.17 – 1.9.17 EECERA 27th International Conference, Bologna, Italy. Poster Presentation: Supporting the parenting needs of kinship carers in a time of austerity. A UK based conceptualisation of pedagogical documentation: self-organised symposium. Presenters: Michael Reed with Rosie Walker, Nicola Stobbs and Janet Harvell

20.7.17 CCF Partnership Research Conference. Listening to the Voice of Kinship Children Keynote presentation

13.9.17-15.9.17 BERA National Conference, Leeds; Presentation of Paper: The effects of the language enrichment project on the children’s word use. Co-presented with Alison Prowle and Dr Hazel Richards

15.6.17 Learning and Teaching Conference, University of Worcester. Presentation of paper in collaboration with contributing students: Beyond the Naughty Step – Creating a Behaviour Management Toolkit to promote Positive Behaviour in the Early Years

10.4.17 A little less talking a little more action. Institute of Health and Society Conference, Worcester. Presentation of Paper: Supporting Kinship Families. Co-presented with Alison Prowle

11.2.17 Foundation Degree Conference, University of Worcester. Lived experiences of refugee children and their families. Chaired session: In conversation with Phoebe Chan

External Roles

Board member Worcester City Play Council