2014, Volume 17, Special Issue: Early Childhood Policy

Negotiating Policy-Driven and State-Mandated Expectations of Leadership: Discourses Accessed by Early Childhood Educators in Australia

early childhood research journal

Full Reference

Thomas, L., & Nuttall, J. (2014). Negotiating policy-driven and state-mandated expectations of leadership: Discourses accessed by early childhood educators in Australia. NZ Research in Early Childhood Education Journal. Special Issue: Early Childhood Policy, 17, 101-114.

 

Original Policy Paper

Negotiating Policy-Driven and State-Mandated Expectations of Leadership: Discourses Accessed by Early Childhood Educators in Australia

Louise Thomas and Joce Nuttall
Australian Catholic University 

Abstract

This paper draws on two recent studies of educational leadership in early childhood education to examine the ways in which educators draw on a variety of discourses to articulate concepts of ‘leader’ and ‘leadership’ in the present early childhood policy context in Australia. The specific focus is on leaders’ responses to expectations of leadership within the National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education and Care and School Age Care [NQF] in Australia (Council of Australian Governments [COAG], 2009a), which promotes leadership focused on curriculum and pedagogy rather than on management and administration (COAG, 2009b). A poststructuralist lens is used to analyse the ways in which concepts of leadership embedded in the NQF work to mobilise various discourses of leadership. We argue that educators’ accounts indicate possibilities for new ways of theorising leadership in EC settings, to find ways to hold together seemingly opposite discourses of ‘leadership for management’ and ‘leadership for learning’ in response to current policy shifts.

Key words: Educational leadership; early childhood education; education policy; Australia; discourse analysis.

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