Becki Holbrooke

After working in early childhood settings in London for five years I returned to university full-time to complete a Masters in Education (Child Development and Education) at the University of Oxford and then Psychology at Oxford Brookes University.

My work and study has led to an interest in understanding what it is that early childhood educators need to know in order to be effective in delivering high-quality provision. For my DPhil I am developing a conceptual framework for understanding the current ‘up-skilling’ or ‘professionalization’ process at work in the Early Childhood Education and Care sector in England.  In particular, I am interested in the role that qualifications (in both Further Education and Higher Education) are playing in this process.

For my masters research at the University of Oxford I worked on the Inclusive Classroom Profile project. The Inclusive Classroom Profile (ICP) is a newly developed structured observation tool for measuring the quality of inclusive classroom practices in mainstream early childhood classrooms that serve children with identified special education needs and disabilities. The ICP project was conducted in conjunction with the early years special needs intervention teachers from the local authority. At Oxford Brookes my dissertation used a qualitative methodology to examine the differences in the level of mathematical knowledge that preschool staff and Reception teachers believed children should know when they started school.


Title of thesis
The professionalization of the ECEC workforce in England: the role of training in initial professional formation

Dr Maria Evangelou & Professor Ewart Keep

Research interests

  • Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC)
  • Skills, Training and Competence in ECEC workforce
  • ECEC Qualifications in the Further and Higher Education Sectors
  • Inclusive Education
  • Quality Improvement in ECEC


  • Soukakou, E., Evangelou, M. & Holbrooke, B., 2016. Supporting the Quality of Inclusive Education Practices in Early Childhood Settings. Poster presentation at: 18th International ECERS Meeting, 4 – 6 May, Oxford.
  • Becki, H., 2015. The Professionalization of the Early Years Workforce in England: The Role of Training in Initial Professional Formation. Poster presentation at: University of Oxford Department of Education Poster Conference, October 2015, Oxford
  • Soukakou, E., Evangelou, M. & Clarke, B., 2013. Supporting the Quality of Inclusive Classroom Practices in Early Years Settings. University of Oxford [End of project report to Oxfordshire County Council]
  • Clarke, R., 2015. Expectations of Young Children’s Mathematical Knowledge: What do practitioners think children need to know about maths when they start school? Oxford Brookes University [Unpublished Masters Dissertation].
  • Clarke, R., 2013. An exploration of the relationship between classroom characteristics and the quality of the inclusive environment in early years classrooms in Oxfordshire. University of Oxford [Unpublished Masters Dissertation]


  • Research student

College affiliation

  • Green Templeton College

Research groups

  • Families, Effective Learning and Literacy (FELL)