Sightlines Initiative

promoting creative and reflective practice in early childhood education


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Spaces for Growth

 ~ identifying and maximising the scope in the DfE 2020 ‘Development Matters’ for renewing professionalism and pedagogical culture ~

An online conversation between Sightlines Initiative Network members representing centres in the private, maintained and voluntary sectors, FE/HE colleges, plus early years colleague Jan Dubiel, who played a significant part in creating the new guidance document.

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The new Development Matters is ‘thinner’ than previous documents which have constrained professionalism by over-programmatization.  Our premiss is that there is an opportunity to seize in the thinness, in that the spaces give room for developing a new depth of pedagogical culture by individual settings that are researchful and motivated. Our aim is to identify where there are breathing spaces to work professionally and researchfully, without defending against hidebound strictures.

There is equal need and scope for FE and HE colleges to provide course experiences which nurture professionalism in educators – especially in being researchful. We recognise that currently much recent initial professional formation has been competency-based, matching the recent highly structured ‘programmes of learning’ which have been produced by government departments. As a result many educators (practitioners) and managers are not geared up to inhabit these ‘spaces for growth’ - they may feel empty and unnerving, creating a yearning for ‘old certainties’ and comprehensive manuals.

Undoubtedly there are criticisms and concerns about languages or aspects of the document, and we can recognise and note these at the outset without dwelling on them unduly,  unless they present fundamental challenges. The main point is to articulate the ways in which so-inclined centres can wholeheartedly move into evolving researchful pedagogy, and the opportunities for FE/HE course leaders to produce formative courses which support this professionalism.

This first conversation is  open to attendance online by others, who will also have opportunities to contribute thoughts and comments.

Dates, Details & Booking

Date Thursday 3rd December 2020
Price £20
Member Discount Free to members, but it is open to all.


Jan Dubiel, EY educator & consultant, DfE/QCA lead

Chris Merrick –past EY advisor &  inspector, chair of governors, SI consultant, past early years centre lead

Louise Lowings – past EY advisor, current head of Madeley Nursery School, Telford

Jackie Warren – CEO, Growing Places nursery centres, Portsmouth

Rebecca Webb – education lecturer, University of Sussex

Diane Gregory, Manager, Childsplay Nursery, Newcastle

Robin Duckett, early years educator, founder/director, Sightlines Initiative

Caroline El-Semman, director, Little Jungle School of Early Childhood

Times 4 - 5.30pm

We are no longer accepting registration for this event