5 minutes with Nick Preston

What is your role within YH ARC?

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Early Life and Prevention theme, Yorkshire and Humber ARC.

What’s your background?

Physiotherapist and researcher

What current YH ARC projects are you working on?

Developing an evidence-based motor skills programme for children with motor difficulties that can be delivered effectively by teaching assistants.

Poor motor skills have a profound impact on children’s life chances, affecting their physical and mental health, and their academic progress. We carried out and published a systematic review which found good evidence for activities that showed huge benefits for children’s motor skills. With teaching assistants, descriptions of how to deliver these activities were developed into a user-friendly manual. The manual is currently being piloted in schools to ensure that the activities can correctly be delivered by teaching assistants. Once the piloting is completed, we will carry out a feasibility study to evaluate the manual in schools, and to collect the answers to some research questions necessary for the design of a randomised controlled study that will evaluate the benefits of the activities.

What are you most excited about in YH ARC?

It is exciting to be part of the ARC committee meetings, where progress about current work and the planning of potential and confirmed future research is discussed. It feels a real privilege to be with such remarkable leaders in research and progress, and potentially to be able to support their research.

What 3 things inspire you?

  • Addressing inequality: taking action to address the gulf between children born into disadvantaged situations and those born into better circumstances.

  • My wife and son: both wonderful people and utterly lovely and inspirational.

  • The people with whom I work: the professors through to the PhD students, but also the teaching staff, community workers and health professionals involved in the research to improve health outcomes and improve lives of disadvantaged people.