We are fortunate to have an expert advisory group comprised of highly knowledgeable individuals from diverse institutions across the UK and are comprised of experts from various sectors, including academia, government and non-profit organisations and education. This advisory group plays a pivotal role in our research project, providing valuable insights and feedback that shape the direction and outcomes of our work.

The advisory group meets bi-annually, creating a dedicated space for meaningful discussions, knowledge exchange, and critical evaluation of our project. Their feedback helps us refine our research approach, identify potential challenges, and explore innovative solutions. By engaging with this diverse group of stakeholders, we are able to foster collaboration, enhance the relevance of our research, and maximise its impact.

Dr Natalie Canning

Dr Natalie Canning

The Open University, Senior Lecturer in Early Childhood and Co-Director of the Children’s Research Centre

Natalie's main research interests are centred on young children’s play and how play can empower children. Her interest in children’s play preferences are distinctive because it focuses on how children initiated interests can empower children. 

Dr Lorna Arnott

Dr Lorna Arnott

University of Strathclyde, Senior Lecturer in Early Childhood Education and founder and co-convener for the European Early Childhood Educational Research Association (EECERA)

Lorna's main research interests explore young children’s play experiences, typically in relation to technology, creativity and social play.

Professor Carol Robinson

Professor Carol Robinson

University of Strathclyde (formally at Edgehill University), Professor of Children’s Rights

Carol’s research interests focus on the voices experiences, rights and empowerment of children and young people. A major focus of Carol’s work has been around developing insights into issues relating to children’s Human Rights Education (HRE).

Dr Dawn Mannay

Dr Dawn Mannay

Cardiff University, Director of Postgraduate Research in the School of Social Sciences

Dawn’s research interests revolve around education, identity and inequality. She also manages the online community of practices ExChange: Care and Education and ExChange: Family and Community.

Dr Bronagh Byrne

Dr Bronagh Byrne

Queens University Belfast, Senior Lecturer in School of Social Sciences and Programme Director of MSc in Children’s Rights

Bronagh is the Co-Director of the Centre for Children’s Rights and co-founder of the Disability Research Network. Bronagh's research expertise lies in international disability rights and children’s rights to national policy and practice with a focus on the UNCRC. 

Cez James

Cez James

Cardiff Met Senior Lecturer in Youth and Community

Cez has a long career history in youth and community work across the UK. He spent twenty four years in London working in a number of inner London boroughts in senior practioner, management and senior management roes in a diverse range of youth and community work services.

Clara Seery

Clara Seery

Managing Director of the Central South Consortium

Clara is an experienced School Improvement Partner who has worked with primary, secondary and special schools supporting schools to implement a range of curriculum and leadership changes. She has also worked at both local and regional level to develop provision for EM and SEN learners.

Dr Sarah McGeown

Dr Sarah McGeown

Edinburgh University, Senior Lecture

Sarah is interested in reading development, sex differences and gender identity, mental toughness in education and motivation and behaviour– all from an educational standpoint in children.

Professor Kate Wall

Professor Kate Wall

University of Strathclyde, Professor of Education

Kate’s research interests revolve around how participatory methods support authentic conversations about metacognition between teachers and  students and the learning process. She is particularly interested in methodologies for gathering pupils’ views on curriculum and learning.

Anna Westall

Anna Westall

Children in Wales, Policy officer for Children’s Rights

Anna is responsible for development work in in the field of family support, early years, childcare and children’s rights. Anna also is involved in running the Children’s Rights in the Early Years (CREY) Network.

Averil Petley

Averil Petley

Welsh Government, Head of Foundation Learning team at Welsh Government

Linked to Averil’s role are interests around early education, pupil voice, inclusion, and the  impact of social and economic disadvantages.

Gaynor Brimble

Gaynor Brimble

School Improvement Partner, Early Years

Gaynor is interested in children’s play, and how observing play can lead to more engaging experiences within environments that value and respect children’s choices. . Most recently she has provided professional advice to the WG Foundation Learning team and the materials they have produced to support the implementation of the Curriculum for Wales for the youngest learners.

Arwyn Thomas

Arwyn Thomas

Managing Director GwE

Arwyn Thomas began his teaching career in the Llandudno area. During his career, he has been a school head teacher, a school improvement officer and HMI. He was also Head of Education in Gwynedd, Abertawe and Ceredigion. In his capacity as Managing Director of GwE since being appointed in 2017, Arwyn works closely with Welsh Government and OECD.