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Upcoming event Research Commission: Competing Discourses of Early Childhood Education and Care

A Professional Workforce for the Early Years? Policy, practice and sector responses

This Seminar is the 4th in the Research Commission, Competing Discourses of Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC): Tensions, Impacts and Democratic Alternatives across the UK’s four jurisdictions.

In many countries, strategies to further develop services and institutions for the education and care of young children are linked to a discourse on professionalism (Urban, 2013). In Northern Ireland and Ireland, professionalism is set within ECEC reforms such as Learning to Learn and First 5: A Whole-of-Government Strategy for Babies, Young Children and their Families. However within both contexts the persistent ‘split system’ of statutory and voluntary/private sectors within the field of early childhood provision plays a key role in the creation of a fully professionalised early years workforce.
This seminar will explore the extent to which ECEC colleagues are being de/re/professionalised in various ways. In particular we aim to hear Northern Irish and Irish responses to the following questions:

The research questions for the seminar include:

  1. How is professionalism understood in the ECEC sector in NI and Ireland and why
  2. What are the barriers to professional development?
  3. How can these barriers to professional development be overcome?

The seminar will also include Keynote presentations from Dr. Siobhan Fitzpatrick, former CEO of Early Years: the organisation for young children, Belfast, Northern Ireland and Professor Mathias Urban, Dublin City University, Ireland.

Programme

10.00 Registration, tea and coffee
10.10 Welcome Introductions
Dr Glenda Walsh, Stranmillis University College and Dr Jacqueline Fallon, National Council for Curriculum and Assessment in the Republic of Ireland
10.15 Setting the Context of the ECEC Research Commission
Dr Guy Roberts-Holmes, Dr Jan Georgeson and Dr Verity Campbell-Barr
10.30 Structural Focus Group Discussions (Using Nominal Group Technique) answering questions:

The 3 main research questions:

  1. How is professionalism understood in the ECEC sector in NI and Ireland and why?
  2. What are the barriers to professional development?
  3. How can these barriers to professional development be overcome?
11.30 Coffee Break
12.00 Keynote Session 1
Dr Siobhan Fitzpatrick, Queens University, Belfast, Northern Ireland
12.45 Discussion Q&A
13.00 Lunch
13.30 Keynote Session 2
Professor Mathias Urban, Dublin University, Ireland
14.15 Discussion Q&A
14.30 Feedback on Nominal Group Technique scores and group discussion
14.55 Completion of Evaluation Forms
15.00 Close of event 

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