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Dr Donna Gaywood

Senior Lecturer for Children, Young People and Families

Bringing 30 years’ experience of working with children, young people, and adults to the role of senior lecturer on the Children Young People and Families course, Donna aims to support students, enabling them to achieve their learning and career goals.


As a teacher, Donna has worked across a wide range of settings: schools, PVIs, charities, local authorities and in private practice, developing a specialism for working with children and their parents who have encountered significant challenge and supporting very young children (0-5) who are struggling with their social, emotional, and mental health. Her research interest is the post migration lived experiences of refugee children in Early Childhood Education and Care.


  • MA Early Education (Distinction) Birmingham City University/Centre for Research in Early Childhood, Birmingham 2015.
  • NPQICL (National Professional Qualification in Integrated Centre Leadership) Centre for Research in Early Childhood in Birmingham 2014
  • B(Ed) Hons (with QTS) Bristol Polytechnic, Bristol. 1990

Teaching & Research


Donna is teaching study skills, human development (children 0-5), looking at social context, ideas about multiagency working and the working in education module. She tends to use Freire’s principles alongside Vygotsky’s ideas about the social aspects of teaching and learning.


Through investigating the lived experiences of refugee children, Donna has developed a pedagogy of welcome which takes into account children’s social identity, how they are conceptualised and relationships with host peers. It aims to deepen inclusive practices, providing opportunity for staff to reflect on their own taken-for-granted norms and consider more power-sensitive approaches. She currently is working with early educators in Poland on an education toolkit to support practice with refugee and migrant children. The project is funded by The Froebel Trust.


More publications from Dr Donna Gaywood can be found in the Research Repository.

External responsibilities

I work as an Early Years Consultant, Donna Gaywood Consultancy and also continue to work in private practice with children, their families and early educators. I present at conferences, both in a practice capacity and academically. In October I will be part of an expert panel for Early Education.

Subject for media interview

Refugee children and Mental health needs of children (particularly 0-5)

Professional positions

Donna co-ordinates a Special Interest Group: Children from Refugee and Migrant Backgrounds for the European Early Childhood Education Research Association (EECERA)