Educational Leaders and the project of professionalisation in early childhood education in Australia

Jenny Martin, Joce Nuttall, Linda Henderson, Elizabeth Wood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


This paper reports the ways in which Educational Leaders in Australian early childhood education workplaces are interpreting and implementing their mandatory role. Interviews with 20 Educational Leaders in two Australian government jurisdictions were analysed using cultural-historical activity theory. Our analysis suggests a significant gap between government policy orientation toward quality improvement and the project of professionalisation of the field that motivates Educational Leaders. We argue the work of Educational Leaders is primarily oriented towards raising the status and capacity of their colleagues as a pre-requisite for high-quality outcomes, and that concepts of quality operate instead as mediating tools. In this sense, a focus on professionalisation both subsumes the international policy focus on quality.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101559
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Educational Research
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • early childhood education
  • educational leadership
  • policy
  • professionalisation

Cite this