Transforming Professional Development for Early Years Educators in Australia

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Category: News

The Early Start “Leadership for Learning” research programme led by Professor Iram Siraj at the Department of Education, University of Oxford and Visiting Professor at the University of Wollongong is transforming professional development approaches within the early years sector across New South Wales, Australia and beyond.

In partnership with the NSW Department of Education, the team including Professors Iram Siraj and Ted Melhuish from the department initiated the Fostering Effective Early Learning (FEEL) study – a world-first randomized controlled trial investigating the impact of an evidence based in-service Professional Development on early years educators’ practice and children’s outcomes in key areas of learning development, and wellbeing.

With more than $3 million funding involving over 200 Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) services and over 1200 children, the Leadership for Learning professional development deriving from the FEEL study has provided the NSW Department of Education and leading early childhood organisations with an effective, evidence-based and affordable model for practice and workforce development, and has given rise to multiple and sustained opportunities for the Department and Early Start to advocate for the importance of high quality ECEC in the NSW, Australia, UK and international context.

Professor Iram Siraj commented: “This work has led to further randomized control trials being funded and evaluated in Victoria and the UK. In Australia the impact includes the biggest provider of ECEC adopting this approach, it is responsible for over 650 centres, 14,000 staff and provides ECEC services for 73,000 families to strengthen the workforce and improve child outcomes.”

Iram Siraj joined the department as Senior Research Fellow and Professor of Child Development and Education in June 2018 and is a leading international expert in pre-school and primary education research and policy. During summer 2019 she received the University of Wollongong’s Vice-Chancellor’s Research Excellence Award for Research Partnership and Impact for this work.

For more information about the Fostering effective Early Learning research see: