Professor Cathy Nutbrown's work recognised in the New Year Honours List 2023

We're delighted to announce that Cathy has been awarded a damehood in this years New Years Honours. Cathy is renowned for her research in early childhood education, which helps children, parents, teachers and other early childhood educators.

Cathy Nutbrown working in her office

Cathy, Professor of Education, said:

“I see our research in early childhood education at the University of Sheffield recognised in this award. I want to thank colleagues, practitioners, families and organisations for their involvement and sustained collaboration over several decades.  Working with so many committed professionals who work with families to enhance their young children's early literacy and learning is a great privilege.

There is still much to do in terms of early childhood education policy and practice so that those who work with young children are well qualified and rewarded, and young children experience high quality early childhood education and care.   As President of the British Association of Early Childhood Education it is particularly apt to receive such recognition as the charity marks its centenary year.”

Professor Cathy Nutbrown

Cathy, began her career as a teacher, later working on continuing professional development with early childhood teachers. At our University, with Emeritus Professor Peter Hannon she developed and ran the Sheffield Raising Early Achievement in Literacy project. from 1992.

She established a Masters course in Early Childhood Education in 1998 and a Doctoral Programme in Early Childhood Education in 2008. She has been nominated by her students, and recognised by the University, as an inspirational teacher. Cathy has supervised over 100 masters’ and 30 doctoral students’ studies in early childhood education and many of former students now hold positions in universities and early childhood services in the UK and beyond. 

In 2012, she chaired a year-long independent review of Early Education and Childcare Qualifications for the government. Known as the Nutbrown Review - this work is still referenced as the definitive analysis of the requirements for high quality early years workers. 

In 2013 her family literacy research was awarded the Economic and Social Research Council prize for Outstanding Impact on Society and continues to influence early years practice. That year, she also received the Lifetime Achievement Award, for her contribution to early childhood education. The impact of her research at Sheffield has been recognised in the last two REF exercises. Current research on family literacy and home learning, involves practitioners and charities across the country in early years settings, communities, local authorities, and prisons.

She is Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Early Childhood Research, which is known to be a distinctive, leading voice in early childhood research, and has served on the editorial boards of other journals in her field. 

She has been a referee for Research Council funding bodies and many academic journals and publishers, and is Honorary President of the British Association for Early Childhood Education, the leading national charity for early years professionals.