Caron Carter

Dr Caron Carter PhD

Senior Lecturer in Childhood & Early Childhood Education & Postgraduate Research Tutor in Education


I am a researcher and lecturer in the field of Childhood and Early Childhood Education. Prior to joining Sheffield Hallam University in 2007, I was a Primary School Teacher for eleven years. Five of these years were as a Deputy Headteacher and one as an Acting Headteacher. During this time, I had leadership responsibilities including English and Inclusion. These experiences together with post-graduate study for the National Professional Qualification for Headship and an MA in Early Childhood Education from Sheffield University inspired me to apply to Sheffield Hallam University for a lectureship in 2007. In 2013 I completed my PhD under the supervision of Professor Cathy Nutbrown.

My research interests focus on children's friendships and wellbeing. Much of my work has involved looking at ways to develop a listening culture for the voice of the child to be heard. A critical element of my activity is ensuring that my research impacts on school practice. I am currently researching how schools support children's friendships and also the impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic on friendships and wellbeing. I am also part of a team from Sheffield Hallam University working on other funded projects focusing upon improving outcomes for children in specific areas including, friendship, wellbeing, play and transitions.



I am a Senior Lecturer in Childhood and Early Childhood Education at the Sheffield Institute of Education, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield. I am a Vice-Chair of Governors at a Primary School which has an Integrated Resource. I am Governor for Safeguarding and Inclusion. My research interests focus on children's friendships and wellbeing. My research involves looking at ways to develop a listening culture through creative participatory methods, providing opportunities for children’s views and perceptions to be heard and to exercise their agency.

My latest project explored how children (7-11 years) maintained their friendships during Covid-19. This offered the children a range of methods to express themselves, including, drawings, photos and collage. A critical element of her activity is ensuring that her research impacts on school practice.

Previous roles include:

Acting Headteacher in a Sheffield Infant School

Deputy Headteacher in two Sheffield Nursery Infant Schools

Assistant Headteacher in a Sheffield Primary School

Class teacher in a Sheffield Primary School

Research and Teaching interests:

Children’s Friendships and wellbeing

The Impact of Covid on children's friendships, wellbeing and mental health

Leadership and Management in the Primary and Early Years Context

International Perspectives on Childhood and Early Childhood Education


Department of Education, Childhood and Inclusion

College of Social Sciences and Arts

I started at Sheffield Hallam University in January 2007, initially joining the Early Childhood Studies team. I lead and teach a range of Early Education, School Curriculum, Leadership and English modules at undergraduate  level. My current teaching is also focused on leading and teaching on the Doctorate in Education (EdD), module 3 (Research Methodologies and Research Design), and on doctoral supervision.

Subject group: Education

I teach and lead modules on the Undergraduate Childhood and Early Childhood Studies programmes and the Postgraduate programme The doctorate in Education.

UG Modules Include: Leadership in Early Childhood, School and the Primary Curriculum.
EdD Modules Inlcude: Research Methods and Methodology and Analysing your Data.


Current research projects:

- Research Impact activity: Children's Friendships Matter Podcast Series - see website 
- Covid 19 Research into Children's Friendships and Well-being (Sheffield Hallam University).

Selected research projects:

 - Children's Communities Project (Save the Children).
 - Supporting Children's Friendships in School Contexts. (Sheffield Hallam University).
 - Covid 19 Research into Children's Friendships and Well-being (Sheffield Hallam University).
 - Family hubs evaluation: Department for Education.


Carter, C., Barley, R., & Omar, A. (2023). ‘I wish that COVID would disappear, and we'd all be together’: Maintaining Children's friendships during the Covid‐19 pandemic. Children & Society.

Wigfield, A., Ypsilanti, A., Carter, C., & Gurung, J. (2023). It might be scary but making phone calls can be good for young people’s wellbeing. The Conversation.

Carter, C. (2022). What is the biggest challenge facing pastoral care in education today and how can this challenge be effectively addressed? The effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on children’s well-being. Pastoral Care in Education: An International Journal of Personal, Social and Emotional Development.

Carter, C. (2022). Supporting young children’s friendships: the facilitating role of the lunchtime welfare supervisor. Pastoral Care in Education, 1-20.

Carter, C. (2021). Navigating Young Children's Friendship Selection: Implications for Practice. International Journal of Early Years Education.

Carter, C., & Bath, C. (2016). The pirate in the pump: children's views of objects as imaginary friends at the start of school. Education 3-13, 46 (3), 335-344.

Carter, C., & Nutbrown, C. (2016). A pedagogy of friendship: young children's friendships and how schools can support them? The Journal of Early Years Education, 24 (4), 395-413.

Book chapters

Beresin, A., Bishop, J., Beatty, C., Carter, C., Egan, S., LeBron, B., ... von der Borch, D. (2023). Postscript: Suggestions for those who work and play with children, youth and adults. In Beresin, A., & Bishop, J. (Eds.) Play in a Covid Frame : Everyday Pandemic Creativity in a Time of Isolation. (pp. 457-478). Cambridge: Open Book Publishers:

Carter, C. (2023). 9. Parents’ Perspectives on Their Children’s Play and Friendships during the Covid-19 Pandemic in England. In Play in a Covid Frame. (pp. 191-214). Open Book Publishers:

Carter, C. (2019). Children's friendships. In FITZGERALD, D., & MACONOCHIE, H. (Eds.) Early Childhood Studies: A Student's Guide. (pp. 95-112). London: Sage Publishing


Carter, C. (2018). Successful Dissertations The Complete Guide for Education, Childhood and Early Childhood Studies Students. Bloomsbury Publishing.


Carter, C., Clark, L., Coldwell, M., Hatton, A., Pearson, S., Reaney-Wood, S., ... Wilson, I. (2022). Family hubs evaluation interim report: Doncaster. Department for Education.

Batty, E., Harris, C., Leather, D., Pearson, S., Wilson, I., Carter, C., ... Willis, B. (2020). Children’s Communities final evaluation report. Save the Children, UK.

Batty, E., Harris, C., Leather, D., Pearson, S., Wilson, I., Coldwell, M., ... Willis, B. (2018). Children's Communities programme evaluation 2018 report. Save the Children UK.

Internet Publications

Carter, C. (2023). The toll of the Covid-19 pandemic on children’s wellbeing and mental health. How can we support children in ‘new times"? [].


Carter, C. (2023). Children's Friendships Matter Podcast Series. [Podcasts].

Other activities

- School Governor (Vice Chair) at a Junior School in Sheffield.
- Assistant Editor for The International Journal of Pastoral Care in Education (2020-present)
- Member of the National Association for Pastoral Care in Education
- Assistant Editor for the International Journal of Early Childhood Research: (2014-2017)
- Article reviewer for the following journals: The International Journal of Early Childhood  Research, The International Journal of Early Years Education, Education 3-13, Childhood, Children & Society (2012-present)
- External Examiner: Birmingham City University (2019-present)
- Reviewer for Froebel Trust grants
- Part of a National Friendship Research Group including colleagues from Edinburgh University, UCL & Leeds Trinity


Postgraduate supervision

I welcome informal contacts from prospective doctoral students in all areas related to my research interests. Current PGR Students:

 - Arwa Omar: (PhD FT – VC scholarship) The overlapping relationship between theory of mind, executive functions and mathematics achievement. Expected completion March 2023.
 - Sarah Procter: (EdD – PT) Stories from the Nursery of Professional Learning. Suggested completion September 2023.
 - Ifrah Salih: (EdD-PT) Exploring the Transition Experiences of Racially Minoritised Student Nurses into University.
 - Tricia Hughes: (EdD- PT) Researching Introverted Learners on HE Nursing Courses.


 - Margaret Donoghue: (EdD PT) The Implementation of Aistear (Early Childhood Curriculum Framework) in Ireland. Completed May 2019.
 - Aimee Quickfall: (EdD PT) Mothers returning to teaching after maternity leave. SHU, PhD. Director of Studies. Completed September 2020.
 - Sally Pearse: (EdD PT) Reception class teachers' perceptions of professional love. Completed April 2021.

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