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Rory McDowall Clark

Senior Lecturer in Early Childhood

Institute of Education

Contact Details


tel: 01905 855261

Rory originally trained as a nursery and primary teacher in Brighton and has wide experience in broader social contexts including community development with charities, voluntary organisations and outreach youth work. Rory worked as an educational consultant for Cheltenham Borough Council and Gloucestershire County Council before taking up a post in the Centre for Early Childhood at University of Worcester where she has been a senior lecturer for fifteen years. During this time she has developed a number of different courses at both undergraduate and postgraduate level and led on the national programme for Early Years Professional Status.

Rory is particularly interested in the sociocultural aspects of childhood which has formed the basis of much of her teaching as well as leading to her being asked to write a key text Childhood in Society published by Sage.

In recent years Rory has become increasingly involved in research and writing. Her most recent book is Reconceptualising Leadership in the Early Years co-written with Janet Murray and published by Open University Press.


MA (Contemporary Studies)
BA (Hons)
Cert Ed (Nursery, Infant, Junior)

Teaching & Research

Teaching & Research

Teaching interests

  • Sociology of childhood
  • Sociocultural influences on childhood
  • Policy and practice
  • Leadership in Early Childhood Education and Care
  • Gender issues
  • Cultural diversity and equality issues

Research interests

  • Early Years professional training and development
  • Leadership in Early Childhood Education and Care
  • Policy and practice
  • Gender

Professional Bodies

Professional Bodies

In 2012 Rory was elected to the National Executive of TACTYC, an organisation which aims to promote the highest quality professional development for all UK early years educators in order to enhance the educational well-being of youngest children. TACTYC is often called upon to advise or comment on current initiatives and works through advocacy and lobbying; disseminating research findings through its international journal and supporting and encouraging informed and constructive debate.



‘Moving On’ Early Childhood Studies (2002) published in collaboration with University of Warwick and Coventry University

The Early Years Network: a case study in continuing professional development paper presented at ETEN conference and published in Journal of European Teachers Education Network (JETEN) volume 3

Moving Forward Together: continuing professional development Early Years Educator, October 2007

Early Years Professionals: leading for change with Sue Baylis, in Reflective Practice in the Early Years edited by Michael Reed and Natalie Canning published by Sage 2009

Childhood in Society for Early Childhood Studies published by Learning Matters, 2010. 2nd edition published 2013 by Sage.

‘Go softly…’: the reality of ‘leading practice’ in early years settings
with Sue Baylis, in Implementing Quality Improvement and Change in the Early Years edited by Michael Reed and Natalie Canning published by Sage 2011

‘Wasted down there’: policy and practice with the under-threes
with Sue Baylis, in Early Years: an international journal of research and development July 2012. Vol 32 (2): 229-242

Reconceptualizing leadership in the early years with Janet Murray, Open University Press, 2012

‘I’d never thought of myself as a leader…’; reconceptualising leadership with Early Years Professionals published in Journal of the European Early Childhood Education Research Association September 2012. Vol 20 (3): 391-401

Is there space for the child in partnership with families? Reflecting on Early Years Issues, January 2013. Available at

Reframing leadership as a participative pedagogy: the working theories of early years professionals. With Janet Murray, in Early Years: An International Research Journal, Vol. 33 (3): 289-301

External Responsibilities

External Responsibilities

External examiner for the following courses:

SEGI college, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - BA (hons) Early Years Education

Canterbury Christ Church University - BA (hons) Early Years Leadership

University of Sunderland - PG Cert in EY Studies with EYPS