I trained and worked as an Early Years and Primary teacher in Nottinghamshire, London and Pakistan. This was followed by developmental roles in education management and leadership in Pakistan and then with early education, extended schools services and children’s centre provision in England. I became a Senior Lecturer in 2003 and a Principle Lecturer at MMU in 2014 as Associate Head of School for Childhood Youth and Education Studies. I have published work on multi-agency working, young children’s learning and leadership in early years conducting research projects in these areas funded by the DFE and NHS Scotland. I have recently been involved in international early education consultancy work in Kazakhstan and China.
I am passionate about improving the well-being of children and young people and to developing professionals who are able to take a broad view of children's upbringing.
Ph.D. (Primary and Early Childhood Education) London University, Institute of Education, 2011
My own Doctoral research focused on children and adults learning from each other in the context of parent and child groups. It reflected on how children and adults identify shared moments of attention and thinking.
M.A.(Primary Education), London University, Institute of Education, 1996
During my masters study I focused on professional identity, young children's learning and international education policy.
B.Ed.(Hons. Primary Generalist), Nottingham Trent University, 1989
My initial teacher training was as a generalist primary teacher with a particular focus on the role of language development and the philosophy of education.
I initially worked as a primary teacher in England and Pakistan followed by Education development work in Pakistan and England before becoming a university lecturer in 2003.
The more we learn about how children respond to the opportunities they are offered in
different social contexts and societies the more we appreciate the way they are
often underestimated, misunderstood and not treated fairly. By studying
children and social intuitions that support them, we can learn how to improve
their life chances as well as improving the circumstances for their families
and those who work with them. Studying childhood and families helps develop
important academic skills in the social sciences of psychology and sociology as
well as practical skills in terms of working with a range of ages and
I currently teach on undergraduate and post graduate units related to research methods, international eduction policy and child development.
I currently teach on the MA in Early Years and Childhood
I am currently involved in the supervision of four PHD studies in both early education and educational leadership.
External Examiner for the BA Childhood Studies / BA Education joint honours at Aberystwyth University (2017- )
I have been involved in both my own doctoral studies and several comissioned studies, for the DFE, NHS scotland and local education authorities, in focussing on facilitating young children's learning with both professionals and parents. I am familiar with large and small mixed methods studies, using observations, questionaires and interviews.
I am currently working on academic papers with colleagues from Nazarbayev University exploring the implementation of early education policy.
M. Hadfield, M. Jopling, M. Needham, T. Waller (2015). Practice Leadership in the Early Years Becoming, Being and Developing As a Leader.
D. Jackson, M. Needham (2014). Engaging with Parents in Early Years Settings. SAGE.
I. Siraj-Blatchford, K. Clarke, M. Needham (2007). The Team Around the Child Multi-agency Working in the Early Years. Trentham Books Limited.
M. Needham, D. Kuleimenov, A. Soltanbekova (2018). Sticking and tipping points: a case study of preschool education policy and practice in Astana, Kazakhstan. European Early Childhood Education Research Journal. 26(3), pp.432-445.
M. Gallagher, J. Prior, M. Needham, R. Holmes (2017). Listening differently: A pedagogy for expanded listening. British Educational Research Journal. 43(6), pp.1246-1265.
M. Needham, D. Jackson (2016). Le soutien des parents dans les Early childhood dual focused groups anglais et australiens : quelle approche ?. La revue internationale de l'éducation familiale. 40(2), pp.125-125.
M. Needham (2012). Editorial. International Journal of Early Years Education. 20(2), pp.111-113.
M. Needham, D. Jackson (2012). Stay and play or play and chat; comparing roles and purposes in case studies of English and Australian supported playgroups. European Early Childhood Education Research Journal. 20(2), pp.163-176.
C. Gray, M. Needham (2011). Filling big shoes. International Journal of Early Years Education. 19(3-4), pp.189-192.
M. Needham (2018). The Dystopian State and the safeguarding of (Normalised) Childhoods: The Hunger Games. In: Using Film to Understand Childhood and Practice. Bloomsbury,
MD. Needham, A. Anning (2017). IS WORKING TOGETHER WORKING?. S. Powell, K. Smith. In: An Introduction to Early Childhood Studies. Sage,
MD. Needham, D. Jackson (2014). Parental involvement and partnership with parents;"T'ain't What You Do (It's the Way That You Do It)". M. Reed, R. Walker. In: Early Childhood Studies a Critical Companion. London: Sage, pp.217-227.
MD. Needham (2011). Using activity theory to examine the factors shaping the learning partnerships in a parent and child ‘stay and play’ session. T. Waller, J. Whitmarsh, K. Clark. In: Making Sense Of Theory & Practice In Early Childhood: The Power Of Ideas in the Early Years. Maiddenhead: Open University Press,
MD. Needham (2007). keeping people in the big picture; national policy and local solutions. In: The Team around the Child. Trentham,
IC. Barron, M. Needham Being and Becoming. Leeds, UK, 13/9/2016.
MD. Needham, D. Jackson Nurturing sense and sensibilities, engaging with parents locally and globally. Dublin, 31/8/2016.
MD. Needham, M. Hadfield, M. Jopling, T. Waller, M. Emira, et al. (2012). The final report of the Longitudinal Study of Early Years Professional Status. DfE, DfE.
August 2016: EECERA conference Dublin with Dianne Jackson: 1 Sense And Sensibilities: a critical review of state policies on engaging with parents in early education is the article submitted to
August 2016: EECERA conference Dublin with Jim Dobson The Hunger Games: The Dystopian State and Normalised Childhoods Publicising the book Social Issues in Film.
September 2016 BERA conference, Leeds Martin Needham (Manchester Metropolitan University), Jo O’Raw & Catherine Evans (Larkhill Nursery School) Helping adults to Re-appraise the emotional impact of sensory experiences on young children.
September 2015 at EECERA Conference Barcelona; Preschool Classroom Activity and the concealment of the nature of being three
Exploring practice Leadership among Early Years Professionals: EECERA Conference 28th August 2013, Tallinn
Leading change for children under three. EECERA Conference 30th August 2012, Oporto
Early years professionals leading quality: Case studies of practice. EECERA Conference 31th August 2012, Oporto
First National Survey of Early Years Professionals. EECERA conference September 2011 Geneva
Early years professionals' perceptions of their roles and impact in improving practice: BECERA Feb 2012 Birmingham
Down to the basics in learning interactions: A case study of context shaping children's learning in a parent and toddler group. EECERA Conference 7th September 2010 Birmingham
Stay and play or play and chat; comparing roles and purposes in case studies of English and Australian supported playgroups. EECERA Conference 28th August 2009 Strasbourg
Reflections on the status of parent-child learning partnerships represented in a study of Parent and Toddler Groups in the English West Midlands EECERA Conference 3rd September 2008 Stavanger
China’s Fourth International Early Childhood Development and Poverty Reduction Summit and 2015 Asia-Pacific Regional ECD Conference, October 2015 in Beijing, China
New Early Years Leaders, DFE, London 2012
Practitioner conference on EYPS Sunderland University, 2011
Oxford Brookes University Seminar Series, 2009 Reflecting on parent-child
The interaction conference. Institute of Education, London University, 200
Member of the Scietiffic Committee for the EECERA Conference, 7th September 2010, Birmingham.
I regualarly review articles for several Journals with and Early Years focus as well as book submissions for Sage and Open University Press.
Needham, M. (2014) An analysis of the Kazakhstan educational standards document for preschool. Astana:
Jopling, M. and Vincent, S (2014) Evaluation of the reach of Play@home Edinburgh; NHS Health Scotland
Hadfield, M., Jopling, M., Needham, M., Waller, T.(2012) The final report of the Longitudinal Study of Early Years Professional Status London: DfE
Needham, M. (2013) Targeted Early Years Professionals as Mentors A project evaluation. Shrewsbury Shropshire Local Authority
I am currently working on the development of Higher Level Apprenticeships in Early Years.
I am currently involved with the 'Road Map' for Education Policy in Kazakhstan.
Through my work with children's services, publications and research I have influenced both
policy and practice in relation to the organisation and delivery of integrated
through children's centres in both the UK and internationally. Siraj- Blatchford, Clarke and Needham (2007) is a key text on many courses in the UK and cited internationally in policy on multi-agency provision.
As a member of the team which produced the Longitudinal study of Early Years Professional Status published by the DFE (2012) and cited in the Nutbrown Review (2013) I have also influenced policy and practice on leadership and leadership training in England.
Through involvement with the Early Childhood Studies Degree network I continue to influence
the nature of early childhood studies degrees.
A member of the Editorial Board for the International Journal of Early Childhood Education
A premier Reviewer for European Early Childhood Education Research Journal
A member of the European Early Childhood Education Research Assocation and a member of the scientific committee for the 2010 European Early Childhood Education Association Conference in Birmingham
An executive member of the Early Childhood Studies strategy group that produced the QAA Benchmark Statement for EarlyChildhood Studies