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Title: 'Orientation or destination' : professional perspectives on early childhood education and the Quality Agenda in Ireland
Author: Blackburne, Criona
ISNI:       0000 0004 9356 9465
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2020
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Quality ECE is internationally viewed as an instrument for responding to economic, political and social objectives. This has resulted in a contemporary ELC landscape delineated in recent years by policy hyperactivity focusing on the structures and processes of quality assurance. Using complexity theory as the theoretical framework, this thesis explores the visions and insights of practitioners, as well as a policymaker’s perspective, on how the Quality Agenda in Ireland is raising standards. It also examines their views on the direction that ELC policy needs to take from here. The methodology guiding this research is primarily qualitative and follows the interpretive paradigm. Online research methods explored practitioners’ perspectives on how the Quality Agenda has and continues to impact their practice. Using an iterative approach, an online survey explored practitioners’ perspectives on policies emerging from the Quality Agenda and its impact on their practices. This survey, together with the continuous policy initiatives announced during the data collection period, informed the online forum. The face-to-face interview with a policymaker facilitated an opportunity to raise key issues from the online research relating to quality reform and explore the intentions behind contemporary and future policy, which focused on quality development. The findings were analysed using Braun and Clarke’s thematic analysis, NVivo, and Concept Maps. These programs supported navigation through the complex responses, facilitating the creation of a picture of the key issues impacting on quality development. The findings were organised under three key themes: Concepts of Quality, Policy Impact, and Respecting the Practitioner. The Quality Agenda was generally deemed successful in raising standards. Orientation was highlighted as a neglected element of quality, requiring further focus. This research argues that a qualified workforce, working in collaboration with government and embracing social media platforms as an intersection for communication, is critical to future policy development.
Supervisor: Wood, Elizabeth Ann Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ed.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available