National Teaching Fellow 2012
Helen Bilton started her career qualifying as a teacher, becoming a deputy head before moving into higher education. Her interest in the teaching and learning environment has always been at the forefront of her teaching and research and this expertise has been transferred from working with young children to working with adults.
Helen has extensive experience in teaching the Early Years Foundation Stage, primary education, school experience studies and professional studies. She firmly believes in being a role model and demonstrating best practice for students to emulate in the classroom. Her passion for student development and commitment to supporting each individual to achieve their potential are the attributes for which she is most renowned among her students and colleagues.
Helen’s first lecture when training to be a teacher was on the nursery school garden. She was immediately inspired by the unique approach to education which this specialism cultivates and subsequently the outdoor learning environment became her love and research area. Helen is the leading educational specialist in this area and has written extensively on the issue, including five books (the earliest being the first complete text on the subject since 1936) and contributions to many other publications.
Her most recent publication, Outdoor Learning in the Early Years, is a complete compendium for all who work with young children. She is an invited speaker to conferences across the UK and acts as an adviser for schools and local authorities.
Helen has played an instrumental role in many learning and teaching initiatives at Reading, including the innovative re-design of the Foundation Subjects module to involve a local educational charity, and the establishment of self-help groups for students with additional needs. Perhaps most notably, in 2009 Helen’s work with colleagues in the special educational needs sector led the way in achieving school placements for trainee teachers in special educational needs (SEN) schools.
At institutional level, Helen received the School Award for Outstanding Contributions to Teaching and Learning in 2010 and became an Early Career Teaching Fellow in 2011.