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Advancing Early Years Leadership through Digitally Mediated Professional Learning 

Funded by the Nuffield Foundation, the research aims to build our understanding of how Digitally Mediated Professional Learning can be used to extend and enhance leadership development in the English EY sector. 

Objective 1 

The research will systematically review research published in the last ten years (2011-2021) focusing on two intersecting bodies of literature: 1) leadership development programmes in EY and 2) DMPL in EY. The review will build on more general explorations of professional learning in EY around the world (e.g. Rogers et al., 2017; Jensen & Iannone, 2018) by focusing specifically on programmes and outcomes of leadership development and the use of DMPL. It will highlight promising avenues for the advancement of leadership development via DMPL. 

Objective 2 

The research will investigate innovations and advancements of DMPL for leadership development in the English EY sector that emerged due to the COVID19 crisis. It will investigate leadership development initiatives offered by diverse training providers and how these were able to progress via DMPL despite social distancing regulations. Insights into the shifts and their implications for professional learning will be achieved by gathering diverse accounts of those delivering the programmes as well as those participating in such programmes. 

Objective 3 

Through collaborative reflection among sector leaders, based on the research outcomes for the two previous objectives, the research will develop recommendations for the advancement of DMPL for leadership development in the English EY sector. Drawing on the shared understanding of the urgent need for improvements in both the quality and quantity of leadership development in the sector, a design thinking workshop with stakeholders will identify concrete ways for sector organisations and the DfE to enhance what they can offer in terms of leadership development and how DMPL can be effectively used in order to make this practically possible.

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