Problematising policies for workforce reform in early childhood education: a rhetorical analysis of England’s Early Years Teacher Status

Louise Kay, Elizabeth Wood, Joce Nuttall, Linda Henderson

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2 Citations (Scopus)


This paper examines workforce reform in early childhood education in England, specifically the policy trajectory that led to implementation of the Early Years Teacher Status (EYTS) qualification in 2014. Taking a critical perspective on policy analysis, the paper uses rhetorical analysis to make sense of the how EYTS is understood within workforce reform. From an assemblage of salient policy documents, we report our critical analysis of two key texts: Foundations for Quality and More Great Childcare. Both documents identify policy levers and drivers for reform, but from markedly different perspectives and with contrasting recommendations. By using rhetorical analysis to examine how these policy texts construct not only problems but also preferred solutions, we illustrate the paradoxical nature of early childhood policy in England as it relates to aspirations to raise the status of the sector and improve quality through the implementation of EYTS.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Education Policy
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2019


  • Early Childhood Education (ECE)
  • responsibilisation
  • rhetorical analysis
  • Workforce reform

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