account arrow-down-linearrow-down-small arrow-downarrow-download arrow-left-small arrow-leftarrow-link arrow-rightarrow-upaudio-less-volume audio-not-playing audio-plus-volume audio awarded books calendar close-modal closedate document education emailevent Facebookhamburger impact instagramjustice linkedin location-outline location opinion page phonepinterestplay pluspost preview project reports search-bigsearch-old search share startime twitterwelfare youtube zoom-in zoom-out

Professional learning in early years education: reviewing the evidence

Researchers: Professor Sue Rogers

By Nuffield Foundation

Project overview

This project is the first systematic review of international research evidence on professional learning in early years education. It aims to guide policy-makers, school, nursery leaders and other practitioners to make informed decisions about the types of professional learning opportunities that are most effective in the early years sector.

The review will address the overarching question: How can professional learning approaches meet the diverse levels of expertise and skills of staff working in preschools, children’s centres, nurseries and reception classes?

The approach is informed by three research questions: 

  1. What evidence is available about the impact of professional learning approaches in early years education on outcomes for children? Which approaches have the most impact?
  2. What are the features of effective professional learning approaches in early years education? And what is the theory of action underpinning them?
  3. What types of professional learning opportunities are available to early years education practitioners and who provides them? And how to these relate to the first two questions?

The methodological approach draws on the guidelines produced by the EPPI-Centre (a specialist systematic review body based at the UCL Institute of Education) and recent exemplary reviews. The team will investigate a range of electronic databases, journals and specialist websites, as well as making direct contact with experts in the field.


  • Professor Sue Rogers
    University College London

  • Eleanor Ireland
    Programme Head, Education
    Nuffield Foundation
  • Director, Education
    Nuffield Foundation
By Nuffield Foundation

Explore our projects

Search projects

We aim to improve people’s lives by funding research that informs social policy, primarily in Education, Welfare and Justice. We also fund student programmes that give young people skills and confidence in science and research.

We are an open, collaborative and engaged funder that offers more than money. Through connecting the individual projects we fund, we strengthen their collective impact and give voice to an overarching narrative.