Natalie Macdonald

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Mrs Natalie Macdonald LLB, MA, PGCert, HE, fHEA

Lecturer

Tel: 01267676602
E-mail: Natalie.macdonald@uwtsd.ac.uk



  • I am currently the programme director for our 2 year accelerated degree programmes in Early Years Education and Care at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David.
  • The 2 year programme I lead has a focus on supporting widening access and upskilling the sector, this is an innovative delivery method that allows students to continue their employment predominantly within the early years sector whilst studying for their degree programme.  I am part of the Early Years Network in Wales bringing together third sector and government organisations to improve the quality of the early years sector. I am a member of the Foundation Phase Expert Network whose role is to support curriculum deliver and changes in early years in Wales. I am also the HEI representative for the Qualification Standards Advisory Group.
  • I am the current lead representative of the Early Years Centre for Research and Innovation (CRI).

I am a Researcher and Lecturer at University of Wales Trinity Saint David specialising in Early Years provision and pedagogy. I have over ten years of Early Years sector experience including Flying Start and mainstream curriculum, I have extensive experience of working with children and families in areas of disadvantage and have a keen research interest in the impact of early intervention strategies, quality, policy, pedagogy and initiatives to eradicate the impact of poverty.

I hold the Gold Standard international benchmark for the Sustained Shared Thinking and Emotional Wellbeing Scale and I am a lead in the SSTEW research team at UWTSD. I am the programme director of the two year accelerated BA Early Education and Care (Early Years Practitioner) degree at UWTSD and I hold an MA in Developmental and Therapeutic Play, NVQ level 5 in Children’s Care Learning and Development, and LLB degree in Law and Politics. I am currently undertaking a Doctorate in Education and writing my thesis, Interpreting policy: Exploring the separation between care and education in Wales and implications for practice.

  • BERA
  • Early Years Wales
  • Foundation Phase Expert Group
  • Early Years Network

My academic interests include attachment, the impact of Poverty in Early Years, workforce development, ensuring quality, policy interpretation and Early Years pedagogy. 

I am currently undertaking a Doctorate in Education, my research question 'Exploring the visibility of Foucault’s ‘governmentality’ within early years practice; how do practitioners navigate conflicting ‘regimes of truth’?' is based on the influence of policy on practice in the early years education and care sector.  

I lecture across the suite of early years education and care programmes at UWTSD and delivers professional learning programmes on sustained shared thinking, concept development and attachment

I have a research interest in early years and educational policy and curriculum development including how policy is interpreted in practice. Natalie has a focus on attachment, the role of the adult in education and care, concept development and sustained shared thinking.

I have expertise in enunciative pragmatics and post structural discourse analysis.

I am one of the leads for sustained shared thinking research and professional learning within UWTSD.

I have been involved in the development of curriculum and policy guidance.

I have presented at numerous events within the early years sector and academic community and I have supported the organisation of conferences with the Wales Centre for Equity in Education. 

Development of attachment training and resource pack to support childcare professionals to support children with emotional, social and behavioural difficulties.

Development and facilitation of ‘Talking Science’ training program for early years practitioners.

Development and facilitation of Sustained Shared Thinking professional learning programme at UWTSD.

  • Waters, J. & MacDonald, N. (2020): Exploring the use of a rating scale to support professional learning in early years pre-school staff: the experience of one local authority in Wales, Early Years, Available at:  https://doi.org/10.1080/09575146.2020.1742666  
  • Gealy, A.; Tinney, G., Macdonald, N. & Waters, J. (2020) A socio-constructivist approach to developing a professional learning intervention for early childhood education and care practitioners in Wales, Professional Development in Education, DOI: 10.1080/19415257.2020.1742187  
     
  • Macdonald, N., Gealy, A. and Tinney, G. (2019) Exploring the effect of an attachment intervention in areas of multiple deprivation on adult-child interaction and the implications for children’s social, emotional and behavioural development. Early Child Development and Care [online]. DOI:10.1080/03004430.2019.1641704   
  • Waters, J. and Macdonald, N. (2019) The Value of using children’s learning experiences to target professional learning in early years pre-school staff: the experience of one local authority in Wales – Under Review 
  • Waters, J. and Macdonald, N. (2019) Using ‘quality’ measures of children’s learning experiences to target professional learning in early years pre-school staff: the experience of one local authority in Wales. [Online] Manchester, In BERA Annual Conference Proceedings 2019. 
  • Waters, J. and Macdonald, N. (2018). Using ‘quality’ measures of children’s learning experiences to target professional learning in early years pre-school staff: the experience of one local authority in Wales. In: ‘Early Childhood Education, Families and Communities’. [online] Budapest: EECERA, p.59. Available at: http://www.eecera2018.org/uploads/2018/Abstract%20book%20-%20Final%20@%201.8.18%20v2.pdf [Accessed 19 Aug. 2018].  
  • Tinney, G., Macdonald, N., Gealy, A. and Waters, J. (2018). Talking science’: the perception and interpretation of science by early years practitioners and designing training to support science concepts in the early year. In: A Child's World – New shoes New direction. [online] Aberystwyth: University of Wales Aberystwyth. Available at: https://www.aber.ac.uk/en/media/departmental/sell/pdf/childconference/abstractpdfs/dayone/NATALIE-MACDONALD-&-GLENDA-TINNEY-WED-S1D-113.pdf [Accessed 19 Aug. 2018]. 
  • Palaiologou, I., Walsh, g., Macquarrie, S., Waters, J., Macdonald, N., Dunphy, E. (2016) ‘The National Picture’. In Early Years Foundation Stage: Theory and Practice (4th Edition), Edited by Palaiogolou, I. London: Sage. 
  • Macdonald, N. (2018). Information Request for Labour Party Health and Social Care and Education Policy Commission. Carmarthen: UWTSD. 
  • Macdonald, N. (2018). The Great Divide. [Blog] Yr Athrofa. Available at: http://athrofa.cymru/2018/02/14/the-great-divide/ [Accessed 19 Aug. 2018]. 
  • Bevan Foundation (2017). After PISA: A way forward for education in Wales?. Merthyr Tydfil: Bevan Foundation, pp.25-26. 
  • Macdonald, N. (2016) How can we help Early Years Professionals to recognise attachment difficulties and support children’s emotional and behavioural development? Does specific intervention training make a difference?. In: ‘Happiness, relationships, emotion and deep level learning’  Dublin: EECERA, p. 31-32. 
  • Macdonald, N. and Battenbough, E. (2016). Attachment and Me: Supporting Early Years professionals to identify and support children’s emotional development and wellbeing. Carmarthen: UWTSD. 
  • Palaiologou, I., Walsh, G., Macquarrie, S., Waters, J., Macdonald, N., Dunphy, E. (2016) ‘The National Picture’. In Early Years Foundation Stage: Theory and Practice (3rd Edition), Edited by Palaiogolou, I. London: Sage. 
  • Macdonald, N., Sophocleous, C. (2016). The Business of Eradicating Poverty in Schools, South Wales Business Review, 6 (3):18-19. 
  • Macdonald, N. (2014). Autistic Spectrum Disorder, Play and Therapeutic Intervention: The relationship between play and children with Autistic Spectrum Disorder. Postgraduate. University of Wales Swansea. 

I am passionate about raising the profile of the early years profession and supporting the drive for quality within the sector. Strengthening the voice of early years care and education practitioners. 

I am a firm supported of widening access and strongly believe that every one can learn at any point in their life, life long learning begins in the early years and I am proud to have been a part of not only inspiring children's love of learning as an early years practitioner but now supporting adults in and returning to education. Education is not a privilege it is a right and we have a responsibility to ensure it is accessible to all.