18 December 2017

A pilot project that will help early childhood professionals develop and strengthen their leadership skills was successfully finalised in November with the publication of a special edition educational magazine.

The collaborative project was led by QUT’s Faculty of Education and TAFE Queensland Brisbane, funded by the Queensland Department of Education and Training.

Associate Professor Susan Irvine, QUT Faculty of Education and
Jenny Clarke, TAFE Queensland, Brisbane


Associate Professor Susan Irvine from QUT’s Faculty of Education said that pedagogical leadership is a critical determinant of quality in early learning.

"Put simply, pedagogical leadership focuses on ways to enhance teaching and learning, and thereby support better outcomes for children."

The aim of the project was to develop and refine the leadership capability of experienced and aspirant early childhood leaders and support succession planning.

This pilot focussed on Queensland’s North Coast region, and brought together 24 early childhood leaders from a diverse range of contexts and experience levels.

A key element of the project was to allow participants to design and lead their own action research project on a topic of relevance and importance to their education setting.

"Action research is a very practical and user-friendly research approach, and is increasing in popularity to support quality improvement in ECEC and schools".

"Topics included promoting oral language and literacy in the early years, supporting children as capable and competent learners, leading early childhood philosophy and pedagogy, and leading professional early childhood teams".

Susan said the feedback from participants was overwhelmingly positive.

"Participants reported strengthened leadership confidence and skills, and were keen to implement action research in the future."

The participants’ action research projects have been documented in a special magazine that the Department of Education will distribute across the North Coast region.

"The magazine has been written by educators for educators and offers thoughtful and practical ideas to support effective teaching and learning in the early years through action research".

"I feel a great sense of pride looking at this magazine. It really captures and represents the participants’ depth of thinking and highly professional work."

Susan said the project could not have happened without the collaborative effort between the Department of Education, QUT Faculty of Education, TAFE Queensland, and the participants.

"The project is a great example of genuine collaboration. We all worked together to design, implement and evaluate the year-long project. Establishing a community of learners was a key goal from the outset, and was crucial to the project’s success."

"We are all proud of the project, and hope that this will inspire others to think about action research as they seek to strengthen pedagogical leadership and practices within their settings."

For a copy of the special edition magazine, Pedagogical leadership in action: the North Coast Early Childhood Pedagogical Leadership Development Pilot Project, contact Associate Professor Susan Irvine on


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