children playing

Early childhood policy in England 1997–2013: anatomy of a missed opportunity

Printer-friendly versionSend by emailPDF version
Moss, Peter
Publication Date: 
31 Oct 2014

Abstract only

Full text available online at cost or in a university library

Moss, P. (2014). Early childhood policy in England 1997-2013: anatomy of a missed opportunity, International Journal of Early Years Education, 22 (4), 346-358.


The new Labour government that entered office in 1997 made early childhood education and care (ECEC) a policy priority, after decades of neglect. The article provides an overview of the subsequent policy developments, looking at three areas in more detail: governance and finance; the organisation and management of services; and the workforce. It then brings the story up to the present day, with policy developments since the 2010 election, during a period of severe public austerity. The article concludes by providing a critical assessment of these developments. From all the attention and activity that has surrounded ECEC in England in recent years, what actually has been achieved? Has it been a case of evolution or transformation? Overall, the article concludes that the period since 1997, despite some important gains, has overall been a story of missed opportunities, a case of more of the same rather than transformative change.