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Vanessa Rawlings

Lecturer in Early Childhood Studies

Vanessa Rawlings

T:  01473 338586


Vanessa began her career in the South West of England working in the Life and Pensions industry. After a brief career break she retrained and worked for ten years in the Early Years sector as a Playgroup Deputy Supervisor and Nursery Nurse, before moving on to work in Primary Education as a Teaching Assistant. In 2004 she started the ECS degree at Suffolk College, graduating in 2007 with first class honours and completed her teacher training in 2008 with specialism in Early Years and Key Stage 1. She taught in Key Stage 2 for five years and, alongside teaching full time, completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Education with Merit and a Masters in Childhood and Youth Studies with Distinction. In January 2013 she decided to pursue her interest in helping disaffected young people, students with mental health problems and young people with special educational needs by taking up a part time post as a Youth Support Worker with Essex County Council until September 2014.


BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies (2007)
Professional Graduate Certificate in Education (2008)
Postgraduate Diploma in Education, Anglia Ruskin University (2012)
MA Childhood & Youth Studies (2013)

Teaching and Learning

Vanessa began working at University of Suffolk in September 2013 as an occasional lecturer before taking up a full time post in September 2014. She is currently the module leader on the Level 5 Practitioner Options Module, teaching and supporting students in practice. She is also module leader for both the Level 5 Play and Learning module and the Level 6 Leadership and Management in Early Years Contexts module. She has previously been module leader for the Level 5 Social Psychology and Children module and was involved in seminars for the Level 4 Development and Learning Module. Vanessa is also a Level 6 Dissertation Supervisor and Personal Tutor to students on the ECS and ECS and Youth degree routes.

Research Interests

Vanessa’s research interests centre on children and young people’s voice and active agency in society. She is keen to explore ways of engaging and empowering young people’s active participation in democratic and educational issues through embracing innovative methodologies. She is currently preparing the research focus for her PhD.

As part of the Raising the Bar strategy by Suffolk County Council, Vanessa has conducted research under iSEED into children and young people’s perceptions about mentoring programmes in Suffolk. She has also conducted independent research for a local charity.