eCite Digital Repository

System Reform in the Early Childhood Education and Care Sector in Australia


Shelley, B, System Reform in the Early Childhood Education and Care Sector in Australia, Oxford Encyclopedia of School Reform, Oxford University Press, GW Noblit (ed), United Kingdom, pp. 1-23. ISBN 9780190841133 (2021) [Research Book Chapter]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2021 Oxford University Press

Official URL:

DOI: doi:10.1093/acrefore/9780190264093.013.1668


The paper traces the influence of three normative accounts of early childhood education and care upon international, national, and local policy frames. Human capital theories, human rights discourses, and social pedagogic understandings shape policy frames in specific ways. Starting with a broad overview of the development of international organisations interest in the field of early childhood education and care, the paper then turns to a consideration of the reform agenda in the Australian context. Early childhood education and care have evolved as specific repositories of hope for nation states seeking to boost their productivity and secure enhanced life outcomes for citizens. A case study of one Australian state’s attempt to introduce free universal early childhood education and care for children aged three years and six months reveals some of the structural challenges in translating an evidence base and apparent policy consensus into systemic change. The concept of policy frames, politics, and politicking help to reveal the tensions in play. The paper highlights the persistence of equity challenges that exist in the early childhood education and care sector in Australia.

Item Details

Item Type:Research Book Chapter
Keywords:equity, early childhood, public policy
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Policy and administration
Research Field:Social policy
Objective Division:Education and Training
Objective Group:Schools and learning environments
Objective Field:Policies and development
UTAS Author:Shelley, B (Dr Becky Shelley)
ID Code:145060
Year Published:2021
Deposited By:Peter Underwood Centre for Educational Attainment
Deposited On:2021-06-29
Last Modified:2022-09-08
Downloads:6 View Download Statistics

Repository Staff Only: item control page