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Past event Part of series: Research Commission: Competing Discourses of Early Childhood Education and Care

Collaborative Agency: policy enactment or resistance?

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This one-day seminar is the second part of the BERA Research Commission 2019 – 2020.  Competing Discourses of Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC): Tensions, Impacts and Democratic Alternatives across the UK’s four jurisdictions.  The seminar will focus on the collaborative agency of those working in the early years and their enactment and/or resistance to policy. Focussing on Scotland, the seminar will provide opportunities to explore where the early years sector implements and/or subverts policy.

Those working in the early years are increasingly tasked with the responsibility to meet policy objectives. Concern has been raised that the professional autonomy of the early years workforce is being challenged by requirements to evidence how they are helping children to be ready for school while addressing social inequalities. Despite the increasing expectations of those who work in the early years, funding and remuneration are not in keeping with those expectations. Furthermore, it is contended that the objectives of policy are not in keeping with the rich tradition of the meaningful and inclusive child-centred pedagogies of early childhood education and care. Professionals therefore find themselves negotiating between different discourses of early childhood education and care in their work with young children, making decisions as to where to adhere to policy and where to challenge it.

During this seminar, we aim to hear the widest possible range of voices from the early years community regarding their enactment or resistance to policy. The day will consist of focus group discussions alongside stimulating presentations as a part of this important and timely Research Commission.


10.00 Registration, tea and coffee
10.15 Setting context of the Research Commission and Collaborative Agency
Jan Georgeson and Verity Campbell-Barr
10.30 Structured Focus group discussions (using Nominal Group Technique) answering questions: What does collaborative agency mean to you? How is policy enacted or resisted in your context?
11.30 Tea and coffee break
12.00 Stories of agency, advocacy and activism in early childhood education
Nathan Archer
13.00 Lunch
13.45 Professional Collaborative Agency
Verity Campbell-Barr and Jan Georgeson
14.45 Feedback on Nominal Group Technique (NGT) scores and group discussion
14.55 Completion of evaluation forms
15.00 Close of event


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