The hidden impact of policy requirements on nursery workers in England

Mikuska, E. (2020) The hidden impact of policy requirements on nursery workers in England. In: British Educational Research Association Annual Conference 2020, 4-6 Sep 2020, Online.

[thumbnail of conference abstract] Text (conference abstract)
BERA Abstract 2020.docx - Presentation
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution 4.0.

Download (30kB)


There has been much international debate as to who can work with children. In England discussion have focussed on what kind of skills and qualifications nursery workers need. This is based largely on the nature of Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) policies that seek to ‘improve the quality of early years training’ (DfE, 2017a: 2) and which ‘set the standards that all early years providers must meet to ensure that children learn and develop well and are kept healthy and safe’ (DfE, 2017a: 5). In England a worrying current trend, however, is that the levels of qualifications within the ECEC workforce are dropping (Bonetti, 2018). This paper investigates the ways in which government objectives of improving workforce quality can be achieved, and gives a critical perspective on data from twenty-six narrative interviews with ECEC workers. To explore how nursery workers interpret government policies, this paper focuses on two main government documents; The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) (DfE, 2017a) which became the statutory curricular framework in England from 2008; and The Early Years Workforce Strategy (EYWS) (DfE, 2017b) which details government visions of how to support the development of a well-qualified workforce with the appropriate knowledge, skills and experience to deliver high quality early education and childcare for young children. I argue that the ongoing and continuous amendments imposed by government present possible benefits for enhancing the professional recognition of the nursery worker. However, the fluid policy environment also gives rise to tensions and confusion in expectations of nursery workers’ professional practice. The concern is how national central government policies set out to influence outcomes for children at local level which in turn is related to the (un)intended ways in which nursery workers’ practice is shaped.

Publication Type: Conference or Workshop Items (Speech)
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1139 Early childhood education
Divisions: Academic Areas > Institute of Education, Social and Life Sciences > Childhood
Event Title: British Educational Research Association Annual Conference 2020
Event Location: Online
Event Dates: 4-6 Sep 2020
Depositing User: Eva Mikuska
Date Deposited: 14 Feb 2023 10:46
Last Modified: 14 Feb 2023 10:46

Actions (login required)

View Item
View Item
▲ Top

Our address

I’m looking for