Dr Louise Kay

School of Education

Course director of the Sheffield EdD

Director of the Sheffield EdD programme

edu - photo of louise kay
+44 114 222 8141

Full contact details

Dr Louise Kay
School of Education
Edgar Allen House
241 Glossop Rd
S10 2GW

Humanities/Social Studies BA

Qualified Teacher Status

Early Childhood Education MA

Early Childhood Education EdD

Research interests

My doctoral thesis explored the beliefs of two Reception teachers using Cultural-Historical Activity Theory (CHAT). The ways in which 'school readiness' was constructed through pedagogical practices was identified, and the tensions and contradictions that emerged between these practices and the beliefs of teachers were explored in depth.

I have a particular interest in curricular and assessment policy frameworks and how these impact on teachers and children.

Current Research Projects

Learning-rich leadership for quality improvement in early education

The aim of this research project is to explore how learning-rich leadership enhances service quality in ECE. Focusing on the role of the Educational Leader in Australia and the Early Years Teacher Status in England, this collaborative project aims to generate knowledge about practices of educational leadership for quality improvement in ECE, and will form the basis for an ongoing programme of international research.

The Internet of Toys: Benefits and risks of connected toys for children

This project aims to investigate the emerging world of the Internet of Toys (IoToys) where toys relate one-on-one to children and also connect to other toys, other children and/or database data. Using a ‘children’s digital rights’ framework and research methods germane to media and cultural studies, the project investigates the benefits and risks of these toys in terms of children’s communicative and play practices, as well as children’s data privacy and security. The project combines perspectives of international experts with a rigorous investigation into the implications of these toys for policy, practice and communicative play.


Journal articles

Teaching activities

I have worked in the field of education for the past eighteen years and taught across the primary and Early Years sector before moving into Higher Education in 2013.

As part of my role at the University of Sheffield, I teach across the BA, MA and EdD programmes. I am Deputy Director for the iPGCE and module leader for EDU108 (Social and Historical Constructions of Childhood).

I supervise undergraduate, masters and doctoral students in the areas of:

  • Curricular and assessment policy frameworks
  • School readiness
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Cultural-Historical Activity Theory
  • Professionalism in the Early Years Workforce
  • Pedagogical documentation in Early Childhood
Professional activities
  • BERA convenor for Early Childhood Education and Care Special Interest Group
  • BERA northern regional Rep
  • Trustee for Brightbox