Gemma Ryder

Dr Gemma Ryder

Senior Lecturer / Course Leader MA Early Childhood Leadership an

Department of Early Childhood & Education , School of Education and Communities

Dr Gemma M. Ryder is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Education and Communities. She teaches on the foundation and postgraduate early childhood programmes and is an accredited CMI Management Coach and Mentor. She is additionally an Adult Mental Health First Aider (MHFA) and a Higher Education MHFA Champion.


  • Masters in Early Years Professional Practice
  • Early Years Professional Status (EYPS)
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education
  • Professional Doctorate in Education (EdD)

Areas Of Interest

  • Birth to Three Years Age Group
  • Early Childhood Leadership and Workforce Development
  • Early Childhood Curriculum and Pedagogy
  • Prosocial Behaviour and Development
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Gemma's passion for working in early childhood began when she completed the NNEB Diploma in Nursery Nursing. Her experience in the sector has seen her work in private and not-for-profit settings, which included a study visit to Joliet and Chicago to shadow practitioners and learn more about Head Start, Early Head Start and special education provision. She has worked in further education as an Early Years Work Placement Coordinator on the CACHE courses in early years and childcare. In addition to her role as a Senior Lecturer, Gemma has worked as an assessor, mentor and Programme Leader on the Early Years Professional Status (EYPS) and Early Years Initial Teacher Training (EYITT) pathways. She has acted as an External Validation Panel Member on foundation and undergraduate degrees in early childhood and education courses across England.

She has also been part of a Reading Group revising the QAA Subject Benchmark Statement in Early Childhood Studies (2021-2022). Gemma has continued to develop her skills and expertise in early childhood through the completion of the Early Years Professional Status (EYPS), a Masters in Early Years Professional Practice and a Professional Doctorate in Education (EdD). Her thesis explored prosocial development across the birth-to-three years age group in formal early childhood settings.

Gemma is a certified Adult Mental Health First Aider and holds a CMI Level 5 Award in Management Coaching and Mentoring, supporting academics and professional service staff with their professional development and personal goals.


My Research Interests

My research interests are in early childhood leadership and workforce development. I am also interested in prosocial development, particularly with babies and toddlers.

Early childhood

  • Developing leadership skills in young children
  • Prosocial behavior and dispositions in the 0 - 3 years age group
  • Working with families in challenging circumstances

Leadership and workforce development

  • Developing practical skills on non-vocational degree pathways
  • Early childhood leadership skills and experiences in practitioners with unrelated degrees.
  • Leadership experiences of early childhood practitioners and professionals
  • Professional safeguarding
  • Supporting the needs of early childhood staff who have special educational needs, specific learning differences or mental health conditions.

Higher education

  • Early Years Professional Status and Early Years Initial Teacher Training
  • Early childhood undergraduate and postgraduate training and experience
  • Experiences of online learners


  • Davis, G. and Ryder, G. (2016) Leading in Early Childhood. London: SAGE Publications Ltd.



  • Foundation Year for Early Childhood Studies, Education and Special Needs
  • MA Early Childhood Leadership and Practice


Foundation Modules

  • ED3091 Placement in Context: Play and Learning
  • ED3094 Social, Emotional and Mental Health


Postgraduate Modules

  • ED7001 Research Methods and Dissertation in Early Childhood Leadership and Practice
  • ED7410 Critical Reflection on Leadership of Practice in Early Childhood (Mental Wealth)