From setting to strategy: a study into perspectives on Higher Education of experienced early years practitioners, a ‘paradigm shift’ on two levels

Andre Kurowski, Eva Mikuska

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Research was carried out on the Isle of Wight, in the United Kingdom, to determine the impact of Higher Education (HE) in childhood studies as studied at a Further Education (FE) college. The original aims were to find out what a childhood studies graduate ‘looks like’ and what degrees in the sector offer employers. It also set out to evaluate the impact of the Graduate Practitioner Competences (GPCs) offered by HE providers. Research took the form of focus groups with childhood studies undergraduates and on analysis. The participants focus was on professional progression and personal development beyond the early years setting. Findings pointed to an appreciation of the skills and abilities of childhood graduates by managers but, once embarked on HE programmes, Early Years (EY) practitioners tend to look to develop their careers beyond the setting they are employed. The participants used their degrees to move away from the role of EY practitioner into more ‘professional’ positions such as teaching and social work. It was not possible to evaluate the impact of GPCs in the way intended, because the participants had little knowledge of this initiative (ECSDN, 2018). This constitutes a paradigm shift in two ways: first, students begin to see the opportunities available to them and look for career development, and second, the research on this group took a different direction to that first anticipated. It began to focus not on the impact of HE on practitioners in the ECEC workforce, but on the perceived benefits to practitioners in terms of career progression and self satisfaction. It is recommended that for further research on GPCs be carried out on practitioners at earlier stages in their careers.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 16th International Scientific Conference
PublisherUniversity of Novi Sad
Number of pages10
ISBN (Print)9788681960196
Publication statusPublished - 12 Nov 2022
Event16th International Scientific Conference: Changing Paradigms in Education and Science - Novi Sad, Serbia
Duration: 3 Nov 20224 Nov 2022


Conference16th International Scientific Conference
CityNovi Sad


  • Isle of Wight
  • Paradigm Shift
  • Qualitative study

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