Articulate with confidence a personal and philosophical perspective on the role of the leader in relation to legal policy, ethical and procedural frameworks and how to apply these in a workplace setting

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MODULE CODE: QY6050 – 3000 words



Welcome to the Critical Choices for Leaders module. In this module you will explore theories of leadership in creating change to improve outcomes for children and families. A broad range of legislation, theories, current research and relevant documentation will be explored. This will enable you to develop your knowledge and understanding to support you as a leader when making critical choices within an Early Years environment. In this module you will explore the potential dilemmas facing Early Years practitioners and identify strategies that may support your personal and professional development.

You will consider the central issues involved in inter-professional practice and the impact that this may have when working with and supporting children and families with diverse needs. Furthermore you will examine safeguarding and child protection practices, policies and procedures, while locating yourself within these.

In addition you will explore ethical frameworks and how these impact upon choices that are made and practices within settings. The complexities of change within the Early Years sector will be explored in relation to national strategies, policies and procedures. This will enable you to develop an inquiring approach to Early Years pedagogy and reflect upon your role as a leader making critical choices. You will be encouraged to take a creative and innovative approach towards change and identify how to modify your practice where appropriate.


This module will enable you to:

• articulate with confidence a personal and philosophical perspective on the role of the leader in relation to legal policy, ethical and procedural frameworks and how to apply these in a workplace setting

• adopt a critical and enquiring stance with regard to the implementation of the curriculum using background theory and current research

• explore the leadership and organisation required to create change that will improve outcomes for children and families

• ensure current knowledge of central issues involved in inter-professional practice and the impact this has on critical choices involving children and families Revised August 2021


1. identify and critically analyse different leadership styles and theories that activate effective change within the work environment;

2. demonstrate critical awareness of roles and responsibilities within inter-professional practice as choices are addressed;

3. critically analyse national strategies, setting policies and procedures to develop an enquiring approach to early years pedagogy recognising the complexities that can arise;

4. position themselves, personally and professionally, within the safeguarding agenda, policies and procedures; (DO NOT COVER)

5. take a creative and constructive critical approach within the decision making process that considers ethical issues and the best interest of children and families;



Summative Essay (3000 words) - You will evaluate a critical choice that you have made, considering the process and how practice was subsequently modified. The summative essay will demonstrate critical analysis and reflection. You may also draw on evidence arising from any of the formative tasks that support the theme of your choice. Throughout, ensure that you refer to the learning outcomes for this module. Please note: You will only draw on tasks that are relevant to the choice that you explore within your summative essay.

Throughout the assignment you are required to follow and implement the Harvard referencing method.

Reading lists.

core Texts:

Raelin, J. (2016) Leadership as Practice: Theory and Application. Abingdon: Routledge.

Rodd, J. (2015) Leading Change in Early Years. Principles and Practice. Maidenhead:

McGraw-Hill Education.

Stamopoulos, E., Barblett., L (2020) Early Childhood Leadership in Action. Abingdon:



Aubrey, C. (2011) Leading and Managing in the Early Years. 2nd edn. London: SAGE. 

Bradshaw, J. (Ed.) (2011) The Well-being of children in the UK. Bristol: The Policy Press.

Baldock, P., Fitzgerald, D. and Kay, J. (2013) Understanding Early Years Policy. 3rdn edn. London: SAGE.

Balyer, A. (2012) ‘Transformational Leadership Behaviours of School Principals:  Qualitative Research Based on Teachers’ Perceptions’, International Online Journal of Educational Sciences, 4 (3), pp.581-591.

Campbell-Barr, V. and Leeson, C. (2016) Quality leadership in the early years: research, theory and practice. Los Angeles: Sage.

Davis, G. (2012) ‘A documentary analysis of the use of leadership and change theory in changing practice in early years settings’, Early Years, 32 (3), pp.266-276. 

Edwards, A. (2009) Improving inter-professional collaborations: multi-agency working for children’s wellbeing. London: Routledge.

Henderson, L. (2016) ‘Someone had to have faith in them as professionals’: an evaluation of an action research project to develop educational leadership across the early years’, Educational Action Research, pp.1-13.

Ho, D., Campbell-Barr, V. and Leeson, C. (2010) ‘Quality improvement in early years settings in Hong Kong and England’, International Journal of Early Years Education, 18 (3), pp.243-258.

Kangas, J., Venninen, T. and Ojala, M. (2016) ‘Distributed leadership as administrative practice in Finnish early childhood education and care’, Educational Management Administration and Leadership, 44(4), pp.617-631.

Layen, S. (2015) ‘Do reflections on personal autobiography as captured in narrated life-stories illuminate leadership development in the field of early childhood?’, Professional Development in Education, 41(2), pp.273-289.

McDowall Clark, R. (2012) ‘I’ve never thought of myself as a leader but…’: the Early Years Professional and catalytic leadership’, European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, 20 (3), pp.391-401.

Mcdowall-Clark, R. and Murray, J. (2012) Reconceptualizing Leadership in the Early Years. Maidenhead: Open University Press.

Mckibbin, J. and Pawson, G. (2014) ‘Early Years Teachers as Influential Leaders’, in Johnson, J. (Ed.) Becoming an Early Years Teacher. Maidenhead: Open University Press, pp. 136-152.

Miller, L. and Cable, C. (Eds.) (2011) Professionalization, Leadership and

Management in the Early Years Practice. London: SAGE.

Miller, L. Drury, R. and Cable, C. (Eds.) (2012) Extending Professional Practice in the Early Years. London: SAGE.

Mistry, M. and Sood, K. (2012) ‘Challenges of Early Years leadershipnpreparation: a comparison between early and experienced Early Years practitioners in England’, Management in Education, 26 (1), pp.28-37.

Palaiologou, I. (Ed.) (2012) Ethical Practice in Early Childhood. London: SAGE. Raelin, J. (2011) ‘From leadership-as-practice to leaderful practice’, Leadership, 7 (2), pp.195-211. 

Reed, M. and Canning, N. (2011) Implementing quality improvement and change in the early years. London: SAGE.

Reid, J. and Burton, S. (2014) Safeguarding and Protecting Children in the Early Years. Abingdon: Routledge.

Ritchie, C. (2015) Challenge and change for the early years workforce. Working with children from birth to 8. Abingdon: Routledge.

Rodd, J. (2013) Leadership in Early Childhood. 4th edn. Maidenhead: Open University Press. 

Rose, J. and Norwich, B. (2014) ‘Collective commitment and collective efficacy: a theoretical model for understanding the motivational dynamics of dilemma resolution in inter-professional work’. Cambridge Journal of Education. 44 (1) pp. 59–74

Rowson, R. (2006) Working Ethics – How to be Fair in a Culturally Complex World. London: Jessica Kingsley.

Siraj, I. and Hallet, E. (2013) Effective and Caring Leadership in the Early Years. London: Sage.

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