Shaping New Policies and Strategies in Childcare: The Application of Systematic Search and Analysis of Existing Data Sets

By Martin Edward Purcell and Pat Broadhead.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper draws upon recent research into recruitment, retention and rewards in the children’s workforce in England. Substantial workforce restructuring is ongoing in this sector to parallel extensive policy development and public investment in expanded provision for children, young people and families. The team’s job was to search, identify and analyse existing findings relating to 14 job categories constituting a small but significant element of the newly emerging ‘children’s workforce’. The paper identifies the substantial methodological challenges of the work as it progressed through its various stages and sets these challenges against the politics of policy recommendations. Some of these job categories are already relatively well paid and high status whereas others are poorly paid and low status. In this paper we focus most substantially on those which are low paid and low status as it here that the politics of policy recommendations are most strongly felt. Whilst much of our primary data were quantitatively constructed, we wanted the report to represent the broader contexts of the work and consequently developed Hypothetical Case Studies (HCSs) to depict the positive and negative aspects of particular job categories to stimulate debate and policy development. We will share some of these HCSs in the presentation.

Keywords: Children’s Workforce, Recruitment, Retention & Rewards, Analysis of Secondary Datasets, Hypothetical Case Studies

The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 2, Issue 3, pp.103-110. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 532.521KB).

Martin Edward Purcell

Senior Research Fellow, Policy Research Institute, Leeds Metropolitan University, Leeds, Yorkshire, UK

Martin Purcell is a Senior Research Fellow in the Policy Research Institute at Leeds Metropolitan University, having previously worked in policy development and programme management for local authorities and voluntary organisations in Wales, Scotland and England. As well as undertaking evaluations of a range of children’s initiatives (including Children’s Fund projects in West and South Yorkshire, Leeds City Council’s children and young people participation project, and research into voluntary sector provision of children’s services in Wakefield district), Martin has developed several innovative projects (including a rural community childcare project), and provided support to a wide range of community based initiatives (including parent-run children’s services). Martin also has first hand experience of the challenges of managing children’s services, having served on the Management Committees of his daughter’s parent & toddler group and playgroup.

Prof Pat Broadhead

Professor of Playful Learning, Carnegie Faculty of Sport and Education, Leeds Metropolitan University, Leeds, Yorkshire, UK

Pat Broadhead is Director of the Centre for Research into Childhood and Professor of Playful Learning in the Carnegie Faculty of Sport and Education at Leeds Metropolitan University. This professorial title reflects Pat’s long-standing research interests in young children’s play and learning in educational settings, reflecting her firm belief that play should have high status within our culture and society. Having begun her career in education as a nursery helper, Pat has also been a teacher working in early years and primary classrooms, and has worked at the Universities of Leeds, York and Northumbria. As well as exploring children’s workforce issues, Pat’s research has focussed on the links between cooperative endeavour and the potential for cognitive development. This has included the development of the Social Play Continuum, which charts the use of language and action in increasingly complex ways as play progresses from associative, to social, to highly social to cooperative.


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