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    University and early childhood setting collaboration in practice and research innovation

    Barron, IC, Taylor, L, Nettleton, J and Amin, S (2015) University and early childhood setting collaboration in practice and research innovation. In: 25th EECERA Annual Conference, 07 September 2015 - 10 September 2015, Barcelona, Spain.


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    This paper focuses on the long-standing relationship between early childhood academics in a university and early years’ practitioners in a combined nursery school and children's centre in Manchester, United Kingdom. The paper explores its development into a unique collaboration, centred on a belief in the importance of research– informed practice and practice–informed research in improving practice and outcomes for children and families. In the UK, the closest parallel is with work carried out by the Pen Green Centre, Corby and St Thomas’ Children’s Centre and the Centre for Research in Early Childhood, Birmingham. The paper uses Holland et al's concept of 'figured worlds' (1998) and Foucauldian notions of power to explore the meeting of academic, practitioner and political worlds. The research is longitudinal and includes both qualitative (exploring lived experience) and quantitative (measurement of impact) aspects as we explore the transformation of life chances in a particular community. A key feature is the attention given to the diverse agendas of children, parents, community collaborators, experienced early years practitioners, students of early childhood, early childhood academics, local authority quality officers and university leaders. The paper highlights the tensions and successes inherent in attending to the competing needs and demands of children, families, local government, funding agencies and the academy.We explore the ways in which the different positional identities come to affect the relative power held by the different stakeholders and what we have learnt about the processes of joint working required for success in negotiating a path between competing concerns.

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