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​Dr Yuwei Xu

Associate Professor in Early Childhood Education

University of Nottingham, UK


I am a sociologist of (early) childhood, education, and gender; with a PhD awarded by the University of Glasgow, Scotland. I have researched topics such as gender and men in early childhood education, child agency, child-centred diversity and quality education, parenting, and women in STEM. My research is cross-cultural and comparative, I have conducted projects in contexts such as the UK, China, Europe, Australia, and South Africa in collaboration with international researchers.

Dr Jie Gao

Senior Research Fellow

UCL's Faculty of Education and Society


My research background lies in psychology of education. My research interests mainly include parenting, children's play, agency, well-being and motivation theories. I am also interested in research on innovative methodologies, particularly those of mixed-method approaches, such as Q-methodology. 

My current research projects mainly focus on children's voices in early childhood education and care; transition period from preschool to primary education; the development and evaluation of parenting programmes; and early years teacher continuing professional development.

Dr Junqing Zhai

Associate Professor

Zhejiang University, CHN


I’m a researcher in science and environmental education with a PhD awarded by King’s College London. My work focuses on inquiry-based learning in science classrooms and pedagogies in out-of-school science settings. My current research project explores urban children’s connections to nature and environmental behaviours, with a particular focus on the role of play in outdoor natural environments.

Professor Kate Hoskins

Professor of Education

Brunel University London, UK

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My research focuses on education policy, identity and inequalities in relation to further and higher education opportunities and experiences. I have drawn on life history interviewing to explore how women professors experience and construct their careers. One of my recent research projects explored social mobility within academy schools to understand the likely success of these schools in improving student mobility. My current funded research project draws on life history interviewing to explore Early Years Educators construction and enactment of their professional identities, with a particular focus on the impact of localism on their higher education pathways.

Miss Jingyun Zhang

Ph.D student

University of Cambridge, UK


I am a Ph.D student at University of Cambridge, UK. I have achieved a distinction in a dissertation exploring Chinese teachers’ and parents’ perspectives of play in the contexts of China’s 3-6 Learning and Development Guidelines and Anji Play in Early Years Education programme at UCL Institute of Education, UK. Adopting a poststructuralist paradigm, this study seeks to explore dominant and alternative play discourses in the Chinese ECE context, and Chinese teachers' and parents' diverse and fluid perceptions towards these discourses.

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