Dr Karen Boardman

Name: Dr Karen Boardman
Department: Early Years Education
Current position: Head of Early Years Education
Email: Karen.boardman@edgehill.ac.uk
Location: Ormskirk Main Campus, Faculty of Education


Karen has worked in a variety of exciting roles with babies and young children from birth to seven years old for the past thirty-five+ years, both as an early years practitioner and a Nursery/Reception teacher.

Karen is responsible for all Undergraduate and Graduate QTS teaching routes, alongside a range of Undergraduate Early Childhood Education and Early Years Foundation degree programmes. Karen is passionate about high quality, authentic early years provision, supporting the individual needs of all learners and thus impacting upon the life chances of very young children and families.

Karen’s Doctoral research is based upon early reading with under-threes and explores how early years practitioners support early reading development in daily practice. This research has led to some specific recommendations linked to the ‘school readiness’ agenda and some recommendations for training, relating to ‘early reading’ with under-threes. Look out for further research relating to ‘story cushions’ coming soon!

Karen currently teaches across all early years programmes UG and PG and on primary EYFS specialism strands. Karen also teaches on the collaborative Faculty of Arts and Sciences and Faculty of Education, Early Childhood Studies modules and the Faculty of Health and Social Care, Child Health and Wellbeing (Play Modules) programme.


  • NNEB, ADCE, MA Early Childhood Education, PGCert TL HE, EdD (2017)
  • Senior Fellow of the HEA
  • Cert. Ed QTS


  • Early reading
  • Phonics and quality literacy experiences
  •  Gender equity in early years

Published work:

  • Boardman, K (2005) ‘Children’s Drawings’ in Hurst, K. and Nutbrown, C. (Eds) Perspectives on Early Childhood Education Contemporary Research. Staffordshire: Trentham Books.
  • Boardman, K (2011) ‘Standard 24: Be accountable for the delivery of high quality provision’ and ‘Standard S34: Ensure that colleagues working with them understand their role and are involved appropriately in helping children to meet planned objectives’ in Basquill, J., Beattie, L. and Ryan, J. The EYPS Handbook. London: Pearson.
  • Boardman, K (2011) Teaching Reading Using Synthetic Phonics in Walton, A. and Goddard, G. (Eds) Supporting Every Child. A Course Book for Foundation Degrees in Teaching and Supporting Learning. Second Edition. London: Sage/Learning Matters.
  • Boardman, K (2018) “Early Years Teachers as leaders of change through reflexivity praxis?” Early Child Development and Care. ISSN 0300-4430 DOI https://doi.org/10.1080/03004430.2018.1471473
  • Boardman, K. “Why do early years educators engage with phonics policy directives in their work with under-threes?” Policy Futures in Education (under review June 2018)
  • Boardman, K. (2019) ““Too young to read”: Early years practitioners’ perceptions of early reading with under-threes. International Journal of Early Years Education https://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/2JKv9YvZJ8qk3q5derAE/full?target=10.1080/09669760.2019.1605886
  • Boardman, K. (2019) “The incongruities of ‘teaching phonics’ with two-year olds” Education 3 – 13 Special Edition (Early Years Education) https://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/iyKCfZXmKhGqmKMdZaD7/full?target=10.1080/03004279.2019.1622499
  • Boardman, K. (2019) “An exploration of teachers’ perceptions and the impact of multisensory teaching and learning: the influence of specialist dyslexia training” Education 3-13.
  • Boardman, K. and Levy, R. (2019): “I hadn’t realised that whilst the babies and toddlers are sleeping, the other children can’t get to the books!” The complexities of ‘access’ to early reading resources for under-threes’ Early Years: An International Research Journal. https://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/uAJzY5SFVJugfEn9mTpI/full?target=10.1080/09575146.2019.1605336

Knowledge transfer and enterprise:

  • Higher Education Academy (Senior Fellow)
  • TACTYC – Karen is a cop-opted TACTYC Board Member (from September 2018)
  • Chief External Examiner, University of Hull (2013 – 2018)
  • External Validation Panel Member, University of Chichester (December, 2016)
  • External Validation Panel Member, University of Suffolk (Feb, 2017)
  • External Validation Panel Member, University of Northampton (May, 2017)
  • External Examiner University College Birmingham (September 2018 onwards)
  • External Examiner, University of Plymouth, Highlands College (September 2018 onwards)

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