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Students will be required to write a 5000 word essay on a critical examination of one current initiative related to the early childhood sector, and their implication to pedagogy of early years either in the UK or in an alternative international context.
The education sector in the UK has seen sweeping changes since the 1980's. There have been major policy changes, almost one per year and the education system as a whole has been through a lot of change and turmoil for the last three decades. Policy changes in UK education have touched upon every aspect of education – from establishing a national curriculum as well as national assessment framework, through establishing strict qualifications for all educational practitioners, bringing in parents and corporate and communities as partners in educating the younger generation, an explosion in the number of roles of people involved in child education and child care as well as in the qualifications required for the education workforce. There has been a lot of research into various aspects of education – specifically early childhood education since research has established that giving every child the same advantageous start with regard to educational experience and attainment is the right way to achieve social justice and equality in society (APPG, 2013).
The following paragraphs will analyze the policy and changes in the early year's workforce in the UK and compare it to the early year situation overseas. This essay will study the features of the Light the Young Brains work that was part of the Save the Children initiative and critique this initiative. Issues related to the early years workforce – the gender imbalance in the early years workforce, the socio-cultural environment faced by young children all over the world today, the professionalization versus de-professionalization debate will be studied in detail before moving on to a conclusion.
History of early childhood education policy on workforce in the UK
Early childhood education in the UK as a mass movement had its origins in the 1700's. The idea of educating children for the betterment of society gathered steam from initiatives by various religious, social and political organizations and rich patrons who founded schools for poor children. Increasing industrialization was the first prompt for compulsory schooling of young children. Forster's Education Act of 1870 was enacted to send English children to school a year earlier than Austrian children to give them an advantage in educational achievement (Szreter, 1964). The Consultative Committee report of 1908 puts forward the reason of medical care of young children as one of the reasons for the necesity of compulsory early childhood education (Gillard, 2006). Nursery schools for 2-5 year olds were introduced in the UK by legislation by the Lloyd George government through the H.A.L Fisher's Education Act of 1918 which made education compulsory upto the age of 14 in the UK (Lowe, 2009). The first world war however brought in a paucity of funds and not many nursery or continuation schools were established as envisaged by this Act. However with mothers and older children being needed to work the establishment of nursery schools for small children began to flourish. The first such nursery schools were established as a reaction to the conditions of small children being brought up in industrialised cities which lacked space and where parents were suffering from unemployment and the conditions at home were not conducive to the healthy growth of the child.
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