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Raising Quality: Early Years Sector-Endorsed Foundation Degree Graduates views about their professional learning and practice Elaine Hallet The University.

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Presentation on theme: "Raising Quality: Early Years Sector-Endorsed Foundation Degree Graduates views about their professional learning and practice Elaine Hallet The University."— Presentation transcript:

1 Raising Quality: Early Years Sector-Endorsed Foundation Degree Graduates views about their professional learning and practice Elaine Hallet The University of Derby, UK

2 Current doctoral research findings Women Foundation Degree Graduates Experienced Early Years Practitioners Graduates Views - professional learning and practice Impact upon raising the quality of service Womens voices will be reflected throughout Presentation Content

3 Rumbold Report (1990) Inequality of educational provision for three and four year olds Recommends High quality experience for children by highly qualified staff (1990:19) Qualifications of staff = Quality provision Childrens Workforce Strategy (D.E.S. 2006) Graduate workforce Early Years Professional Status Early Years Sector Context

4 Sample 65 Graduates - 53% = 10 – 20 years 92% = Nursery Nurses, Teaching Assistants Traditionally a supportive role Female gender associated, childcare role Graduates – managerial, team leadership roles The FdA has been life changing, I would not have got my job without it. (Graduate 2005) What were the significant components of FdA? Research Sample

5 Case Study FdA in Educare and Early Childhood D.E.S Early Years Sector-Endorsed Womens voices heard and listened to (Kitzinger, in Seale et al, 2007) Questionnaires Unstructured Telephone Interviews Reflective Writing - Learning Journeys Feminist Research Methodology

6 137 = 65 respondents Key Outcomes of Foundation Degree Increased Professional Vocational Practice Increased Academic and Professional Knowledge Enhanced Employability Personal Development Lifelong Learning Questionnaire Findings

7 Reflecting and reflective practice Work-based learning Professional practice being valued In my nursery I used my knowledge to provide the best for the children but needed to know more to provide quality provision. I understood through reflection as it threads through practice and I have the skills and knowledge to modify my practice. (Interview 5) Increased Professional Vocational Knowledge

8 Reflective practice extends your practice by questioning it. The how and why questions, reflecting and thinking how to change. Work-based learning is about doing and learning. Reflective practice pulls you up another level to a different dimension. Both are on a similar theme. (Interview 10) Reflective Practice and Work-based Learning

9 Academic achievement Increased professional knowledge Specialised knowledge I have more confidence, I can justify things. I have an enhanced knowledge. I have confidence in my own ability to say – this is what I think. I have confidence in what I do with children. (Interview 2) Increased Academic and Professional Knowledge

10 View themselves as a professional contributing to Early Years sector Articulate their professional knowledge in meetings Discuss knowledge and practice with other professionals Share knowledge with others as mentors Challenge other professionals Women as Professionals

11 73% not in same job as at start of FdA Experience and expertise as an EY Practitioner being valued Progression in career Increase in pay D.E.S. Senior Practitioner role not recognised Enhanced Employability

12 The FdA is life changing. I was this person, a Nursery Nurse, the lowest of the low with no responsibility. The opportunity to go to university came along. I thought I cant do it. By doing it, it gave me self belief. As a Nursery Nurse in a school I was not involved in any meetings. By doing the FdA it gave me confidence to apply for a Learning Mentors job as I had gained new skills. As a Learning Mentor I had more responsibility and I felt I can actually do this. I got more respect from teachers. The Head Teacher really valued me as I was doing a degree. (Interview 12) Enhanced Employability

13 Increased confidence Professional development The FdA is about work. Its given me confidence. I seem to walk taller. Its a fantastic achievement. It gives you the confidence and the belief I can do it. The opportunity came at the right time. I wanted something to challenge me. It helped me on the professional ladder. (Interview 6) Personal Development

14 74% progression BA level 6, professional awards, ITT A climbing frame of qualifications (Pugh 2001:192) I am now a qualified teacher and have got a permanent job in September teaching a Year 2 class. I have gone up the training ladder, the FdA was the first major step. (Interview 3) The FdA has been a huge stepping stone, a door opened to progress further. (Interview 7) Lifelong Learning

15 All respondents viewed the FdA contribution to professional learning and practice -To a great extent -To some extent Its been such a learning journey (Interview 1) Contribution of the Foundation Degree

16 Views herself as a professional Is recognised, valued and respected as a professional Is proud of her graduate achievement Demonstrates lifelong learning Has high self esteem Is a reflective practitioner Has broad, enhanced professional and specialised knowledge Is articulate in her knowledge and influences others Has increased her current and future employability Is working in leadership roles and is shaping emerging policy and practice She is a transformed and empowered woman practitioner The Developed Woman Practitioner

17 Foundation Degrees integrate vocational and academic threads of learning in an award (QAA FD Benchmark, 2002) Through reflective work-based learning integrated with academic reading and research Foundation Degree graduates have reach their Zone of Proximal Development Zone of Proximal Development (Vygotsky)

18 The Foundation Degree is the rope to pull you up but youve got you climb the rope yourself. (Interview 9) The Foundation Degree has changed my life so much, without it Id still be a Nursery Nurse. The Foundation Degree is what you want it to be. If you want it to change you, it can. (Interview 12) Zone of Proximal Development

19 FdAs aim to equip learners with the skills and knowledge relevant to their employment and the needs of the employers (QAA, 2002) A highly skilled workforce Quality in education and care does not depend on government policy, purpose built schools or even money but what is decisive in determining this is the quality of the educators. (Abbott L, Rodger R, 1994: 2) Conclusion

20 This current research data shows: FdA graduates are higher qualified practitioners Emerging as a unique female workforce Through professional learning are raising the quality of service for children and families by leading and influencing others Implementing the Rumbold Reports (1990) recommendation Higher qualified staff = higher quality of service Conclusion

21 Abbott L, Rodger R, (1994) Quality Education in the Early Years, Buckingham: Open University Press D.E.S. (1990) Starting with Quality: The Rumbold Report, London: H.M.S.O. D.E.S. (2006) Childrens Workforce Strategy; Nottingham: D.E.S Publications Seale C, Gobo G, Gubrium J.F., Silverman D; (2007) Qualitative Research Practice: London: Sage QAA (2002) Foundation degree Benchmark (final draft); London: QAA Email: References and Contact Details

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