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The continuing professional development of Scottish early years workers: using evidence to move from policy to practice

Seagraves, Liz and Condie, Rae (2009) The continuing professional development of Scottish early years workers: using evidence to move from policy to practice. In: 19th EECERA annual conference: diversities in early childhood education, 2009-08-26 - 2009-08-29. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

Until recently in Scotland, there has been little in the way of coherent and consistent policies for the pre-service preparation of early years practitioners nor for their ongoing continuous professional development. The New Standard for Childhood Practice and the Early Years Framework address exactly these issues but new policies in themselves do not improve practice. Turning policy into practice is notoriously difficult as it often requires practitioners to reflect upon and change long-held beliefs and conceptions of their role and the workplace - and uncomfortable and often unwelcome strategy. In Scotland, recent educational initiatives have invested significantly in staff development programmes designed to introduce new ways of working. In this instance, those charged with implementing the new early years policy decided that such a programme would be more effective if based on an understanding of the needs and aspirations of practitioners and managers themselves and an awareness of the provision already made. They therefore commissioned a team of researchers from the University of Strathclyde to investigate the needs of and document the continuing professional development provision available to early years managers and practitioners. Drawing on documentary analysis and two phases of evidence gathering from practitioners, their managers and local authority officers, this paper presents some of the key findings from the review, set within the context of the early years debate and the government's aspirations for the sector.