Professor Kathy Sylva, OBE
Professor Kathy 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; Children’s Centres and Family Hubs; supporting parents in behaviour management and learning; Reading Recovery and other literacy interventions.
She has been Specialist Advisor to the House of Commons Select Committee on Education, the House of Lords Enquiry into Affordable Child Care and is currently a member of Ofsted’s Pedagogy Forum and the Early Intervention Foundation’s Evidence Panel. Professor Sylva serves on Government advisory committees concerned with Covid recovery, national assessment, evaluation of programmes such as Sure Start, and curriculum for children 0-7 years. She advised the Scottish Parliament on Early Years; and in 2006 advised the English Government on the teaching of phonics.
Professor Sylva is a Fellow of the British Academy, the Academy of Social Sciences, and the British Psychology Society. She was awarded an OBE in 2008 for services to children and families and the British Education Research Association’s Nisbett Award for ‘outstanding research in education’ in 2014.
- Early education from birth to age 7
- Child care in UK and Europe
- Evaluation of early interventions in high and low income countries
- Early childhood policy in UK and internationally
- Early literacy at home and school
- Investigating the reliability and validity of the Toddler Home Learning Environment (THLE) scale. Frontiers in Educational Assessment, Testing, and Applied Measurement. Hall, J., Sylva, K., et al (2021)
- Developing 21st century skills in early childhood: the contribution of process quality to self-regulation and pro-social behaviour. Zeitschrift für Erziehungswissenschaft, 23(3), 465-484. Sylva, K., et al (2020)
- Thriving in the 21st century: the new science of early childhood. British Academy Provocation Papers. Sylva, K. (2020)
- “Relationships between families’ use of Sure Start Children’s Centres, changes in home learning environments, and preschool behavioural disorders”, Oxford Review of Education. Hall, J, Sammons, P, Smees, R, Sylva, K, et al (2019)
- “The role of families and pre-school in educational disadvantage”, Oxford Review of Education. 40(6) 680-695 Sylva, K (2014)
Professor Sylva regularly speaks with journalists and others working in media about early education and care, community children’s centres, parenting, and the lasting effects of early experience.
Recent media work
- App for being a better parent works, Oxford University study finds
- Preschool education boosts children's academic success, study finds
- Preschools give long-term advantage
- Poor, bright pupils aged 11 fall behind by A-level
- Children need to grasp basic maths concepts in preschool to be proficient in later life
- Going to nursery linked to better GCSE grades and higher pay