Valerie Huggins - Professional Doctorate in Education (EDD) student

I am a Lecturer in Early Childhood Studies and Associate Head at the Plymouth Institute of Education, with over 35 years of experience working in a range of educational settings. I passed my EdD thesis viva which was about international exchanges on university undergraduate programmes and I am very proud of what I achieved over five years. Studying for a Doctorate in Education at Plymouth University was the best professional development of my career.

I found the EdD to be an excellent course. It challenged me to think beyond my comfort zone in early years education and to investigate broader educational, political and social issues. The modular approach in the first two years fitted well with my busy workload as a teacher educator. It also provided a supportive bridge into studying and writing at doctoral level, which was particularly useful for me as it had been several years since I gained my masters degree. I appreciated working with the group of like-minded education professionals on the course with such a diversity of experiences to share.

During the thesis stage, the tutors offered an appropriate balance of challenge and support, and invested considerable time and thought into ensuring my success on the programme. Gaining an EdD is not an easy process, but the rewards are worth the effort. I now have the confidence to use innovative approaches such as Facet Methodology and Appreciative Inquiry in my research in early years education, both in the UK and in majority world contexts. I am able to lead the professional development of both student and serving teachers with an increased confidence, knowing that I have a greater knowledge of educational theory to underpin my research-informed teaching.