Policy Issues in the Early Years


Edited by: Linda Miller & Denise Hevey

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  • The Critical Issues in the Early Years Series

    This series provides both national (UK wide) and international perspectives on critical issues within the field of early years education and care.

    The quality of early childhood education and care (ECEC) has remained a high priority on government agendas in recent years (OECD, 2006). This series reflects this developing early childhood context which includes professionalising, and up skilling, the early childhood workforce. In particular, the series brings a critical perspective to the developing knowledge and understanding of early years practitioners at various stages of their professional development, to encourage reflection on practice and to bring to their attention key themes and issues in field of early childhood.

    Series Editor

    Linda Miller is Professor Emeritus of Early Years at the Open University. Since 2005 Linda has been co-director of an international project the ‘Day in the Life of an Early Years Practitioner’ based within the European Early Childhood Research Association (EECERA). In 2010–11 she was a member of the Expert Advisory Group for an EU study on Competencies in ECE and was co-lead researcher for the England case study. She has been a member of government stakeholder reference groups and working parties concerned with workforce development in the Early Years. Linda has written and co-edited a wide range of books for early years practitioners, and has published in national and international journals.

    Titles in the Series

    Miller and Cable, Professionalization, Leadership and Management in the Early Years

    Miller and Hevey, Policy Issues in the Early Years

    Miller and Pound, Theories and Approaches to Learning in the Early Years

    Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) (2006) Starting Strong II: Early Childhood Education and Care. Paris: OECD.


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    About the Editors and Contributors


    Linda Miller was Professor of Early Years at The Open University until 2008, when she became Emeritus Professor, Early Years. She has been involved in national consultations and working groups on the Children's Workforce Strategy at the DfES, National Children's Bureau and Teacher Development Agency. From 2003 to 2008, Linda was Chair of the Sector Endorsed Foundation Degrees in Early Years (SEFDEY) national network and is now an honorary life member. From 2010 to 2011, she was a member of the Expert Advisory Team for a European Commission study on the competence requirements of staff in Early Childhood Education and Care and co-author of the England case study. In 2011, she co-authored an expert report on early years teacher education in England for the University of Bremen, Germany. Linda has published widely in co-edited and single authored books and in national and international journals.

    Denise Hevey joined the School of Education at The University of Northampton in November 2005 as their first Professor of Early Years. She had previously spent 18 years at the Open University where she produced the first training pack for childminders and courses such as Working with Children and Young People, before establishing the Vocational Qualifications Centre to promote vocational and professional training across the University. She joined Ofsted in 2001 as Head of Policy in the Early Years Directorate and two years later was seconded to the DfES. Her experience of public policy making includes the consultation and development of the Childcare Approval Scheme and the government response to the Bichard Inquiry, and subsequent policy and legislative changes related to the vetting and barring of those unsuitable to work with children. She now teaches on the BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies and is Director of the Early Years Professional Status programme.


    Jane Barlow is Professor of Public Health in the Early Years at the University of Warwick. She is an international expert on the role of early parenting in the aetiology of mental health problems and in particular the evaluation of early interventions aimed at improving parenting practices during infancy. She is Director of the Warwick Infant and Family Wellbeing Unit, which provides training in innovative evidence-based methods of supporting parenting during pregnancy and the early years to a wide range of early years and primary care practitioners. She authored a highly acclaimed research review for Research in Practice on safeguarding (2010), and jointly authored a book (with Schrader-MacMillan) entitled Safeguarding Children from Emotional Abuse (DCSF, 2009).

    Mary Crowley is President of the International Federation for Parenting Education, a worldwide organisation which promotes and supports education for parents around the parent–child relationship (http://www.fiep-ifpe.fr). She was first Chief Executive of Parenting UK, the UK national umbrella body. She led the development of the National Occupational Standards for Work with Parents which were approved for the UK in April 2005 and revised in 2010. In 2008, she was awarded the OBE for services to children and families.

    Roger Downer is a professor, author, co-author/editor of five books and 164 scientific papers and has been awarded the honorary degrees of LL.D (Queens University Belfast) and D.Sc. (University of Waterloo). He has been elected to the Fellowship of the Royal Society of Canada and Membership of the Royal Irish Academy. He has held senior academic positions in Canada, Asia and Europe and, upon his retirement, was appointed President Emeritus of the University of Limerick, having served as President from 1998 to 2006. He serves on the boards of a number of corporate and not-for-profit organisations, including Chair of the Advisory Board of MEHRI.

    Naomi Eisenstadt CB is currently a senior research fellow in the Department of Education, University of Oxford. Naomi's early career was in front-line delivery, working in nurseries and then establishing a Children's Centre in Milton Keynes. In 1999, Naomi joined the UK civil service to become director of the Sure Start Unit at the Department of Education. In this role, she had responsibility for all early years, childcare and family policy for the UK government. From 2006 to 2009, she was Director of the Social Exclusion Task Force in the Cabinet Office. She led the Families at Risk Review, which resulted in policy development on the relationship between adults’ and children's services. In 2002, she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the Open University and in 2005 was made a Companion of the Bath (CB).

    Eva Lloyd is Reader in Early Childhood at the Cass School of Education, University of East London, where she is co-director of the International Centre for the Study of the Mixed Economy of Childcare (ICMEC). She is a Visiting Fellow at Bristol University's School for Policy Studies, where she previously held a Senior Lectureship. Her research focuses on UK and international early childhood policies and child poverty strategies. As part of her career, she also spent 15 years working for children's NGOs.

    Ulviyya Mikailova PhD is Executive Director of the Centre for Innovations in Education in Baku, Azerbaijan, which is a member of the International Step by Step Association (ISSA). Her experience in public service started in 1998 when she became the Step by Step Program Director at the Open Society Institute – Azerbaijan National Foundation. She has also taught courses on gender and politics and education policy at a leading national university in Azerbaijan. In 2006, she was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship Award and spent three months researching at the International and Comparative Education Department at Columbia University, New York. She is a member of the Azerbaijani National Society of Physiologists, and of the Child Protection Network in Azerbaijan. In 2002–2006, she was an ISSA Board Member, and in 2008– 2011 was a member of the ISSA Program Committee.

    Peter Moss is Professor of Early Childhood Provision at the Institute of Education, University of London. He is a coordinator of the international network on leave policies and research, and co-editor of the book series Contesting Early Childhood. His latest book is Radical Education and the Common School: A Democratic Alternative, written with Michael Fielding (Routledge, 2010).

    Sue Owen PhD is currently Director of Practice Improvement at the National Children's Bureau and a member of the Senior Management Team; prior to that, she was Director of the Early Childhood Unit there. In the past, Sue has held a number of posts in the early childhood field, including Early Years Lead Officer for Humberside County Council, Information Officer for the National Childminding Association, Playgroup Adviser for Manchester City Council, and Deputy Director of the Early Years National Training Organisation. Sue's latest book is Authentic Relationships in Group Care for Infants and Toddlers – RIE Principles into Practice (co-edited with Stephanie Petrie, Jessica Kingsley, 2005). Her doctoral dissertation was on the development of professionalism in childminding.

    Wendy Rose was a Senior Research Fellow at The Open University from 1999 until 2010. Previously, for 11 years she was a senior civil servant in England advising on children's policy. Recently, with Professor Jane Aldgate, she has been a professional adviser to the Scottish Government for five years on the development of its policy, Getting it right for every child. She works on national and international child welfare research and development projects, has published widely on policy and practice issues concerned with improving outcomes for children and families, and has been closely associated for many years with the voluntary organisation, Home-Start UK. She is currently contributing to the Welsh government's programme of child protection improvement and reform, including the development of a new approach to multi-agency learning and reviewing. She was awarded the OBE in 2009 for services to children and families.

    Caroline Sharp BSc is an experienced researcher and research manager and is a Research Director at the National Foundation for Educational Research. Caroline has worked on a wide range of educational research projects, but has specialised in the early years and primary education. Her research into early childhood includes studies of children starting school, season of birth and transition from the Foundation Stage to Key Stage 1. She is currently directing a study of Children's Centres targeting services for the most needy families. Caroline was Reviews Coordinator for the Early Years theme at the Centre for Excellence and Outcomes (C4EO).

    Stuart Shanker is Research Professor of Philosophy and Psychology at York University and Director of the Milton and Ethel Harris Research Initiative at York University, Canada. Among his awards are the Walter L. Gordon Fellowship at York University and his research grants include, most recently, a $7,000,000 grant from the Harris Steel Foundation to establish MEHRI, a state-of-the-art cognitive and social neuroscience centre. Dr Shanker is Director of EPIC: an international initiative created to promote the educational potential in children by enhancing their self-regulation. Over the past decade, he has served as Director of the Council of Human Development and Director of the Canada–Cuba Research Alliance; he was the first President of the Council of Early Child Development in Canada. He has served as an advisor on early child development to government organisations across Canada and the USA and countries around the world. Recent publications include Human Development in the Twenty-first Century (co-edited with Alan Fogel and Barbara King, Cambridge University Press, 2008).

    Gerda Sula is the Executive Director of Qendra Hap pas Hapi (the Step by Step Center) in Tirana, Albania, a member of the International Step by Step Association (ISSA). Her main interest is in applying child-centered philosophy in Albania's traditional teaching environment in early childhood. She is involved as a lecturer in teacher preparation programmes at the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Tirana. Gerda has served as a consultant for several government and international organisations, including UNICEF Kosovo, UNICEF Albania, the World Bank, the Ministry of Education and Sciences in Albania and Plan International. She has published articles in national and international professional journals and is editor-in-chief of Femija ne Qender. She has been involved in training at local, national, regional and international levels and has presented at national and international conferences. She has served as a member of national and international organisations, committees and scientific conferences.

    Jenny Spratt is Head of Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) and Children's Centre Services in an English Local Authority where she has led the Early Years and Childcare Strategy since 1998. She has a background in Early Childhood Education and was head teacher of a nursery school for nine years. Jenny represents the Local Authority Early Years Network on the Early Childhood Forum, which is co-ordinated through the National Children's Bureau, and is an early years sector specialist for the Centre for Excellence and Outcomes (C4EO). She co-authored Essentials of Literacy from 0–7 with Tina Bruce (Sage, 2011).

    Lesley Staggs has worked as an early childhood consultant since 2006, acting as strategic adviser to a number of local authorities. She is an external examiner at two higher education institutions, trustee for a national early years charity and vice chair of the Board of the Learning Trust, which runs education in Hackney. Lesley has worked in early years education as a teacher, head teacher and early years inspector. She led the work on developing the Early Learning Goals and Curriculum Guidance for the Foundation Stage in England, was a senior adviser within the DfES and the first National Director for the Foundation Stage.

    Dawn Tankersley has worked as a Program Specialist for the International Step by Step Association (ISSA) and the Open Society Institute since 1999. She has worked on several international Roma early childhood education initiatives as the lead pedagogical expert and has been the lead author of those ISSA publications connected with ISSA's Principles of Quality Pedagogy. In addition, she is the author of ISSA's Educating for Diversity: Education for Social Justice Activities for Children programme and Teacher Guidebook, Speaking for Diversity: Effective Teaching and Learning of Minority-Language Children in Pre-school and Opening Magic Doors: Reading and Learning Together with Children (2009).

    Angela Underdown PhD is an Associate Professor of Public Health in Early Years at the University of Warwick Medical School. She is also deputy director of the Warwick Infant and Family Wellbeing Unit (WIFWU) which brings together expertise with the goal of providing research, training and innovation in effective evidence-based ways of supporting parenting during pregnancy and the first two years of life. Angela's research interests are in the effectiveness of early interventions to promote infant and family well-being. She is particularly interested in the evaluation of interventions that are directed at promoting early infant–parent relationships. She has evaluated the processes and effects of infant massage and is currently exploring community support for parents with infants born pre-term. Angela teaches on a wide range of post-graduate courses aimed at promoting healthy development within early relationships.

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