Professor Sylva’s research interests include early childhood curriculum and assessment; the 'effectiveness' of education in the pre-school and primary phases; the contribution of parents to children’s learning; the primary curriculum; supporting parents in child management and learning; Reading Recovery and other literacy interventions; special needs assessment and planning; and families, children and child care
She was Specialist Advisor to the House of Commons Select Committee on Education and Employment during their Inquiry into Early Education (2001). She serves on Government advisory committees concerned with national assessment, evaluation of programmes such as Sure Start, and curriculum for children 0-7 years (2003, 2005-6, 2008). She advised the Scottish Parliament in 2005-6 on Early Years; and in 2006 she advised the Government on the teaching of phonics. She was awarded an OBE for services to children and families.
- Early years education (from birth to 7 years)
- Early reading
- Early literacy at home and school
- Early childhood policy
Professor Sylva has extensive media experience.