Parent partnership and 'quality' early years services: practitioners' perspectives

Michelle Cottle, Elise Alexander

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This article begins by outlining the historical and political context of ‘parent partnership’ within the UK. It locates the perspectives of early years’ practitioners within this context, drawing on data from an Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)-funded study of eighteen English early years settings, including interviews and focus groups with 165 practitioners in a variety of roles. The findings reveal that, although all practitioners considered parent partnership to be an essential element in quality early years services, the partnerships themselves were understood and enacted in very different ways. Practitioners appear to be influenced by dominant policy discourses as well as their personal and professional histories and their perceptions of the purposes and priorities of their setting. In discussing the nature of ‘parent partnership’, we focus on tensions inherent in English policy discourses, reflecting on the previous Labour government policy as well as changes introduced by the current Coalition government.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)637-659
Issue number5
Early online date20 Apr 2013
Publication statusPublished - 20 Oct 2014

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