Activity: Academic Talks or Presentations › Keynote › Research
The Early Years Professional: The Missing Piece in the Jigsaw for Children?
The importance of the early years for later life outcomes is increasingly being recognised. The former Labour Government (1997-2010) in England introduced a raft of policies aimed at raising the quality of early years provision and outcomes for the youngest children. As part of the changes a new graduate professional role and status, the Early Years Professional, was introduced evidencing a new era of involvement by policy makers in the professions. Government involvement in imposing and shaping the development makes the Early Years Professional vulnerable to political change; it was developed by government and could be removed. Indeed, political change in 2010 brought considerable uncertainty about whether the Coalition Government would continue to support the development, though they have now provided funding until 2015. Alongside this uncertainty, commissioned research evidence is emerging of the positive impact of the policy agenda of the former government. A situation that has not been formally recognised, rather it appears to have gone unnoticed by policy makers. Indeed, the current government have taken a range of actions to dismantle changes previously made and there is an emerging discourse reframing the early years as a period that supports the youngest children being ‘prepared’ for education. This paper aims to address the challenges of this change of emphasis by drawing upon doctoral research critiquing the concept, implementation and impact of Early Years Professional Status as a new professional model. The research design was underpinned by Bronfenbrenner’s Bioecological Theory of Human Development and rather than being a linear development it has been impacted upon at every stage of development by instability in wider systems, therefore providing evidence that supports his under theorised ‘Chaotic System’ and that childhood is not only a development phase but one shaped by political ideology.