Being a professional or practising professionally

Mary Dyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Research (Lloyd, E., and E. Hallet. [2010]. “Professionalising the Early Childhood Workforce in England: Work in Progress or Missed Opportunity?” Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood 11 (1): 75–788; Saks, M. [2012]. “Defining a Profession: The Role of Knowledge and Expertise.” Professions and Professionalism 2 (1): 1–10] into professional status suggests that this is achieved through control of a unique knowledge base, and underpinned by autonomy and agency in practice. This article considers how the government-driven professionalisation agenda for the early years workforce in England has contributed to the professional status of the graduate practitioner (practitioner within this research is defined as those who have achieved either Foundation degree (FdA) or BA Hons Early Years, without necessarily progressing to Early Years Professional or Teacher Status), or if these workers, whilst articulating a professional identity, continue to lack the power to claim such higher status for their role. Data, gathered in the form of narratives about their practice, have been analysed to identify three key themes in the way practice is discussed–registers, relationships, and power and control. Findings indicate that whilst graduate practitioners demonstrate a strongly democratic and relational approach to their professionalism, the language they use to describe their work, and their lack of collective voice, continue to undermine any claim for their occupational group to be recognised as a profession.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)347 - 361
Number of pages15
JournalEuropean Early Childhood Education Research Journal
Issue number3
Early online date22 Apr 2018
Publication statusPublished - 4 May 2018


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