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“Obviously it’s not…hurting anyone, the way you think of parents…”: Early years practitioner perspectives on engagement with parents of two-year-old children on funded early education places.

Ellis, Janice (2020) “Obviously it’s not…hurting anyone, the way you think of parents…”: Early years practitioner perspectives on engagement with parents of two-year-old children on funded early education places. EdD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

This thesis investigates the practices and perspectives of early years practitioners towards parents, in particular those of two-year-old ‘disadvantaged’ children who are in receipt of government-funded places in early years' settings. The research examines how a group of practitioners strive to fulfil the statutory requirement to ‘seek to engage and support parents and/or carers in guiding their child’s development at home’ (DfE, 2017: 1.10) while offering an intervention created to compensate for perceived deficiencies in home backgrounds. Data were collected for the thesis using a mixed-methods approach (Cohen et al, 2018) over three distinct phases, using a detailed questionnaire with 22 participants, semi-structured interviews with 15 of those participants and a case study approach focusing on one participant. Analysis of the data showed that early years education, which has been utilised as a vehicle to close the ‘attainment gap’ in recent years, has meant an increase in practitioners’ responsibilities (Osgood, 2010) and a shift in the way that practitioners see their role as a key person to children as young as two years of age (Elfer et al, 2012). Practitioners are shown to be heavily influenced by the ‘school-readiness’ agenda (Moss, 2016:231) and the pressures of policy compliance and inspections which, in turn, has influenced the focus of their work with children under three, in that they now see themselves first and foremost as educators. In addition, the accountability that results from the ‘responsibilisation’ of their profession (Done and Murphy, 2018: 142) leads practitioners to discount the important role that parents play in their children’s learning (Desforges and Abouchaar, 2003; Sylva, 2014; Sylva et al, 2004), resulting in lost opportunities to support parents to be ‘co-educators’ ( Goodall and Montgomery, 2014: 401) at a time when it may be best received.

Item Type: Thesis (EdD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > School of Education (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.805452
Depositing User: Dr Janice Ellis
Date Deposited: 26 May 2020 07:50
Last Modified: 01 Jun 2020 09:53
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/26975

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