Quality in early years settings: government, research and practitioners' perspectives

Michelle Cottle, Elise Alexander

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This article begins by outlining the UK Government policy context, offering a brief critique before moving on to summarise recent research into ‘quality’ in the early years. The main body of the article locates the perspectives of early years practitioners within this context, drawing on data from an Economic and Social Research Council-funded study of 18 early years settings, including interviews and focused group discussions with 165 practitioners. The findings reveal that practitioners’ understandings of ‘quality’ are influenced by government discourses but appear to be linked to the context of their setting together their personal and professional histories. In discussing the nature of ‘quality’, the authors focus on tensions inherent in the government discourses and draw out the implications for children’s experiences and the training and development of early years practitioners.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)635-654
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2012

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