Policy and governmentality of Early Childhood Education and Care in England

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This paper provides an overview and investigates the English Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) policy landscape. It introduces the political and ECEC policy history, and the development of the statutory Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) (DfE, 2021) framework, whose publication in 2008 was a significant milestone in ECEC in England. Twenty-two nursery workers from a variety of nursery settings were interviewed to learn what they think, know, and how this policy influences their professional practices. Foucault’s (1988) and Dean’s (1999) idea of ‘governmentality’ was used to analyse the data, as governmentality offers a way to create critical analyses of the ECEC policy that affects young children. The analysis recognizes the nursery worker's strong and often stressful relationship with government policy and highlights how policy documents mandated their work. The study also reveals that despite government regulations and guidance, most of the participants decide to continue with their professional development and enrol to study for a higher education degree.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-128
Number of pages6
JournalPedagoška stvarnost
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 10 Apr 2023


  • narrative research
  • Foucault
  • governmentality
  • early childhood education
  • care policy

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