A Reflective Exploration of Personal and Professional


Reflective writing on management and leadership is based on representing own leadership and management skills along with the challenges faced by an individual during his or her setting. This reflective essay is going to discuss the leadership in early years and the challenges such as; relationships between staff members and mangers, that individual can face in personal and professional life. This essay will also discuss the strategies that individual can develop in order to overcome the challenges. The setting where I am doing my placement is located in London. It is a community children centre and was founded in 1986 but is under the government sector, and is free to the local community; the nursery has 20 places with 3 reserved for young children under the age of 2, children under the age of 5 are provided with Full time and part time nursery. We are all together in one room, but the other rooms are used for different activities. The availability of the nursery is from 8.30am-5.30pm, from Monday to Friday. They have a rating of outstanding from Ofsted. The setting supports elderly people within the community by providing services such as; befriending service, employment support and lunch club. Etc. The staff must have at least a Level 2 qualification all the way to Level 6 Our nursery manager has been fully trained, through SENCO; she has a BA HONS in early childhood studies and has gone to all the training provided by SENCO, and other training related children's learning and development all staff have attended similar training. Followed by the deputy manager who also SENCO trained, and has a Level 5 qualification, followed by the room leader who has a Level 4 qualification in childcare education. Children's education is funded from ages 2-4. The manager and the members of staff provide an excellent high standard and are striving to ensure the very best care in education for all the children, we look at the effectiveness to ensure all aspects of the nursery are outstanding. The manager leads and supports the team to ensure that they experienced a great understanding of learning and development requirement. There is a rigorous review of practice and quality training programme.

Ethical Consideration

Ethical consideration is important in maintaining effective leadership and management in own setting (Bloch, 2018). Professionals need to make sure privacy and confidentiality of personal and professional details of staffs and patient are respected and maintained in effective manner. I will also be aware of and respect the anonymity and confidentiality of the setting and staffs are not made available, all the information used is anonymity as any identities remain unknown (Williams-Siegfredsen, 2017).


CPD or continuous professional development is important for development of skill and knowledge of children. I have used the CPD process in my setting in order to develop the inner strength and skill of children (EYFS, 2019). In this report, I will be defining and discussing according to related reading and research and included an inspection report from my setting, government expectations and from other sources. Leadership, quality leadership, distributed leadership, management and leadership, skills, effective communication, safeguarding, Ofsted and EPPE. The HM inspectors is their duties to improve their standards and quality of services providing for the setting in self- assessment, they carry this inspection out through HMIE inspecting the premises, they work according to National Care Standards, Scottish Executive (2006) (cited in UKEssays 2018) which they underpinned in the Child at the Centre, (2007) (cited in UKEssays 2018) and their performance shows, That part of their inspections involve how leadership in the setting are using the analysis.

What is leadership?

In my research on leadership proves that effective leadership is a basic factor that contributes to the quality of early years settings, which can have a significant impact on the general improvement and attainment of the children's educational outcomes. The study tells us that trained and skilled leader or manager, with their capability to reflect upon and engage with changing contexts, being able to communicate and visualise which had a direct impact on the overall quality of the setting. As stated by Siraj-Blatchford, Manni, (2008), leadership is effective in my setting through some key aspects, we encourage open communication with the team members, developing team culture with the children, and families have the ability to interact with others, also offer inspirational and credible values, vision and mission to the team. Leadership build's teamwork, using team members as the form of management, building team and collaboration. More so one of the early year’s researchers Rodd (2006) agrees with the statement that effective leadership is the key to maintaining good quality settings.

Distributed leadership is one of the most effective conceptual approaches that represent the fact that how the entire work in an organisation distributed in all level of staffs and professional in order to achieve the organisational goals (Harris and DeFlaminis, 2016.). Leadership gives direction, the way to move forward, communicate identify carrying out structures and services, building teamwork, using team members as the most effective forms of management, building and team members and collaboration. Based on the EYFS Guidelines, in early years setting, the distributed leaderships represent the multi-agent perspectives, that described how the actors works in collaborative manner in order to improve the knowledge and leaning process in the childcare setting (EYFS, 2017). Through distributed leadership it is possible to cope with the current challenges (Moss, 2015). In my setting, distributed leadership process assist me discuss different issues with peers and professional in order to have the prop[er solution. Moreover distributed leadership assist me to work in partnership with children and families in terms of understanding their problems and issues. In my settings, organisational leaders and care manger focus on shared and distributed leadership process in order to develop the multidimensional process of dealing with different task. As stead by Chreim (2015), distributed leadership is highly effective in terms of developing the shared values, opinion and decision in order to set effective childcare and development process. In my setting, the organisational leaders and manager were highly active in distributing different childcare and learning task to all staffs in effective manner, in order to complete the overall task in effective manner. More so the rigorous reviews of practice and high targeted training programme in the setting has a significant quality of teaching to help support the children monitoring children’s learning and development , and support the progress of each individual child, so that if there are any problems as the children learn it is identified. Leadership is a process of engagement vision and influence, and is a process in which some certain standard and expectation and influences the action of others to behave in what is considered to be direction (Rodd 2006). Davies and Davies (2005) perspective on leadership in settings are useful and may help to build a level of leadership appropriate for early childhood context, such as strategies transformation, ethical learning centred.

Management and Leadership

Hay (1997) cited in (UKEssays 2018) analysis that a good quality of a setting depends on individual portrays a group of both management and leadership skills. An example of good leadership qualities depends on how to persuade others to meet the goals, more so management qualities will incorporate on how to get things done regularly and routinely. Hodgkinson (1991) cited in (Paul 2000) he agrees with Hay (1997) that the combination of skills is essential to carry out efficient setting to attain government expectations while carrying on with their daily routines, mean why they would need the support from other members of staff and these can be accomplished by effective leadership and also teamwork. The complexity in understanding leadership in early childhood comes from misunderstanding with the idea of management. Law and Glover (2000:13) stated that ‘although there has been a big amount of debates over the differences between leadership and management, the terms are usually used interchangeably: and an agreement over the definition is hardly reached’ Hayden (1996) gives us a useful explanation, allows us to see the issues that are relevant to the management of early childhood education, but the research doesn't It is essential to know that leadership and management are intrinsically linked and interlace. Leadership stem out of the idea that is based in philosophy, values and beliefs, which helps direct the policy day-to-day process and novelty. It stems through well-organised planning that comes out of reflection. Management is differentiated by

active involvement in pedagogy, good relations and effective communication and high expectations for increasing. (Hayden 1996) In my setting the manager leads a supportive and experienced team, who have good knowledge and understanding of learning and development, the manager ensures that all of the effective management runs through the setting. The setting goes by following the policy each day to ensure the setting is comfortable for; parents, children and staff. As stated by Hayden (1996) (cited in Heikka 2012) each setting need to follow a policy in order for the setting to operate accordingly, as management is differentiated by active involvement in pedagogy, good relations and effective communication, which my setting makes sure to use as they are all important aspects, as the staff are effective, communication, leading and teamwork is great. During the preliminary stage of my placement I was unable to make string relationship with manger. However, with working in team I began to understand that what my manger actually wants from the staffs. Moreover I have used proper interactive skill and communication ability to discuss issues with manger. Although at the first stage manger was introvert, after some month he was very supporting and friendly. This assists me to learn new things in my setting. Ensuring a tiered ladder of management is incorporated, and that duty is delegated fairly, and to make sure the setting policy and procedure are followed throughout the setting and to also make sure that the safety and wellbeing of children are involved in their care for children. The management supervises and directs all the staff members.

My manager believes that is essential that all the children attending the children centre are supported with effective care and safe with the provision of planned stimulating experiences which will meet each individual needs and support in all aspects of EYFS (2017). According to Rodd (2006) consider a good teamwork is very significant for meeting the requirements of early childhood education in setting cites Ebbeck and Waniganayake (2003) stated that ‘building effective teams is essential to early childhood practice’. Responsibility of a good leader comprises both the responsibility in the team. As a team leader, their role is important as the role consist of helping to encourage children, the role is key as it helps bring people together allowing them to bring skills and qualities so that they perform as a group. As stated by Ebbeck and Waniganayake (2003) leader in my setting shows.

The Challenges of I face in the setting with the manager

The challenges I face in my setting is the relationship between me and the manager, is not necessarily great. I found it difficult to fit in and bring in new ideas at the start of the job, The manager was not as helpful and seemed to have an indirect refusal, as I requested for the setting policy, and she was hesitant to give it to me the first week of when I requested the second week she was not around to give it to me, I then had to search through documents and online, also found that manager was not really accommodating. The nursery is strongly bonded and it also made it difficult for me to fit in quickly.

The experience that I gained about the relationship with manger has potential impact on my overall performance. At the first two month of my joining I was unable to understand what the manager actually want from me. Even I was unable to adapt myself with his objective and pattern of working. I experience lots of challenges in understand the exact process working that manger follows. I tried to discuss this with team members however; I could not get proper support from them. Moreover as I was introvert I felt shy to communicate and discuss the issues with manger.

In order to deal with the challenges faces in team building and team development, Iceberg Theory can be applied in the situation (Zhu et al. 2017). In my setting, this theory is useful for all the practitioners working with children, family and parents. Moreover, this theory is also helpful in my setting in order to support the staffs and a care manager to breaks all barriers and challenges between them in order to maintain the perfect coordination in the work. According to Britto et al. (2017), individuals can face several challenges associated with team building as different team members have their personal perception and viewpoint. During the first week of placement, I have requested to the team member to make me understand the overall working procedure of this children centre so that I can prepare myself for better delivery of the work. According to Bloch (2018), in childcare centre, new staff can face severe challenges and difficulties in order to understand the managers and existing staff’s perspectives. Unsupportive mangers and team members de-motivate and disappoint the new staffs, which affect on their overall professional career. EYFS guidelines promote the collaborative working and shared leadership in organisation in order to set effective leaning and development curriculum for children (EYFS 2017). However, my team members were highly supportive. As stead by Sumsion (2017), lack of clear communication in the team, members as well as with the managers is one of the most important challenges that early year staffs can face. In this aspect, Belbin’s Theory of Team Roles can be applied in order to describe the challenges that I have faced in my work setting to manage the relationship with managers (Meslec and Curşeu, 2015). Based on this theory, the manager needs to perform a different function in childcare organisation such as resource investigator, shaper, coordinator, monitor, evaluator, implementer and team worker. During the fir two weeks of my placement I requested my manager to allow me to meet the children online, it will enhance my understanding about the psychological and feeling of the children, their families and parents. However, the manager was unsupportive and she rejected my requested and told me to work under the team leader and supervisor to understand the overall process of dealing with children. As stated by Moss (2015), the majority of the staffs in the childcare centre face the severe issues in order to make the proper bonding with the manager due to the unsupportive nature of the manger. Based on John Adair’s Action Centred Leadership Model, managers need to focus on three major aspects such as managing team, managing individual and achieving the task (Jamali and Jamali, 2018.). Based on this perspective, the manger in my setting focuses on in the team performance and task achievement, but not on individual development. I wanted to learn and apply new ideas and process in order to provide a better education, safeguarding facilities and care to children. But my manager did not allow me to represent my own view and decisions in about the betterment of the childcare process.

Process of overcoming these challenges:

In order to deal with the challenges, I had a meeting with the team leader and other staff members about organising social outings together, so that we could work more as a team, which let me understand how they work around the setting, as they were sure to involve me in everything. I have made several strategies that assist me to build strong relationship with managers as well as with my teammates. As my manager was highly unsupportive and disagreed in order to provide me with individual assistance, I try to focus on team discussion and training process in which I can ask different questions in the training period. According to Williams-Siegfredsen (2017), clear communication is important with the manger in childcare centre in order to get all information regarding the childcare policies, social policies and safeguarding process. BY applying the Deetz’s Managerialism Theory into the childcare process, it can be stated that managers need to make clear communication with all staffs in order to provide details regarding the childcare policies, the process of dealing with children needs, safeguarding policies and education policies (Willner, 2017). In order to deal with the challenges that I have faced and also to gain a clear understanding about childcare policies that the childcare centre follows, I made the online research. I have gone through the different UK based articles about childcare policies and official websites of my workplace in order to get the proper knowledge about all the social, education, safeguarding and organisation policies. Moreover, during the training I focus on building my communication skill; interpersonal skill and the problem-solving skill in order to make the proper cooperating with the managers as well as with the team members. Based on the Bruce Tuckman Theory, in order to form the effective relationship between manager and staffs, four stages need to be implemented such as forming, norming, storming and performing (Zhen, 2017). In order to overcome the communication barrier between me and the manager, I focus on these four aspects. Here I focus on building my strength by reading different childcare policies by EYFS and its objectives (EYFS, 2017).

The high-quality provision in early years setting:

When it comes to providing quality education and developmental care to children, it is important to proper entitlement of all children in accessing the quality provision in the foundation years (Williams-Siegfredsen, 2017), In my setting, the practitioners focus on evaluating the provision that is undertaken for providing better care and education to the children. Based on the EYFS (early Year Foundation Stage), managers and practitioners in my workplace focus on allocating the following quality provision to the children:

Children rights and entitlements:

According the to the guidelines EYFS, practitioner should protect the individual rights and entitlements for children (EYFS, 2017). Moreover all practitioners would be highly skilled and well-informed about the best education, care and support at the foundation stage. All the early years staffs and professional would have proper knowledge about children’s rights, their learning and developmental needs (Cornelissen et al. 2018). During the workplace setting, I am able to understand hat, how children rights and preferences are influenced by their culture, heritage, language, background and religious beliefs. Early year's practitioners need to focus on promoting children rights in order to encourage the children to develop their independence and sense of autonomy (Brilli et al. 2016). Moreover, the practitioners also assist me as team members about how to assist children in order to develop and sustain the useful relationship with their families, peers and adults.

Effective Provision of Pre-school Education (EPPE):

In my own workplace setting, the practitioner focuses on implementing the EPPE (Institute of Education 2004) provision into the practice. With implementing this provision, the entire practitioner in my workspace aims to promote the positive behavioural, social and intellectual transformation of children. In my workplace, there is [preschool; centre in which practitioner and educations focus on developing the speech, communication skill, interpersonal skill and intellectual behaviour of children. The quality provision in the preschool setting is effective for children in order to develop their understanding of different subjects such as mathematics. In my workplace, the practitioner who is responsible for providing the preschool training to the nursery children with age group 2-4 years, are well trained and highly skilled. Children in the nursery are provided with the proper educational process which develops their cognitive strength, concentration and sociability. (Institute of Education 2004)

Ofsted provision:

According to Ofsted (2006) Ofsted stands for Office for Standards in Education, Children Service and Skill. This provision is associated with conducting an inspection service for the overall educational and learning procedure for the children. It inspects the usefulness and appropriateness of curriculum, skills, and the overall educational and learning process in order to ensure that, children are able to develop their social, behavioural and cognitive transformation through the learning process. In my setting, I and my team members use to work in association with the Ofsted professions in order to assist them to get all the important information regarding to education, curriculum, learning process skills set for the children. During this process, I have made group discussion with team members and managers, which improves my understanding of team building and team working. (Ofsted 2006) Ofsted is responsible for inspecting the quality and standard of education and skill development of children in England. In my workplace, staffs and training for staff and premises of the setting (Ofsted 2014) working under Ofsted perform functions such as inspecting, regulating and reporting. When this takes place I am able to understand the responsibilities of the Ofsted process and its importance in order to set the standard and quality for education and learning process for children. In case of inspection, then I and my team members assist the Ofsted professions to check the overall curriculum, lessons, educational procedures set for the children and additional educational programs of my childcare centres. In the regulation process, the professionals check and regulate the different educational policies and guidelines in order to ensure that all the children, especially the vulnerable and less advantage children are entitled to the high-quality educational system. In the reporting process, I use to assist the managers and the Ofsted staffs to publish the report in overall findings that they gathered through their inspection. (Ofsted 2014)

Legislations related to partnership working in early years:

In early years setting partnership working with parent and families which assist professionals to set each milestone for children development. In my setting, I learn about legislation that is associated with maintaining a proper partnership with children, professions and families. Under the Early Years Foundation Stage (2017), guidelines I and my team members ensure the proper safety, education and care of each child in order to meet their developmental needs. Under Childcare Act 2006, I along with my teammates and manager focus on maintaining string relation with children and their parents in order to share information, get proper advice from parents and inform them about the needs and developmental process of their children. As stated by Williams-Siegfredsen (2017), early years practitioners need to follow the Cedes of Practices, in order to ensure transparency and relevant service for each child that is able to meet his or her developmental needs. In my setting, we always follow the EYFS guidelines in order to maintain transparency in the process of working with parent and children. During working with children and their families I always follow the Equality Act 2010, in order to ensure that equal care and developmental support are provided to children. Moreover, Under the Children’s Centre Safeguarding Children Policy I always maintain the safe and secure environment for children in order to protect them, from any kind of abuse, assault, humiliation and discrimination. During partnership working, I also act as SENCO (Special Educational Needs Coordinator), in which I always follow the guidelines of the Early Years Foundation Stage (2017). In this aspect, I ensure both the parent and family members are involved in the learning and developmental process of children. Moreover, I assure that all information regarding educational needs, curriculum, children preference and their individual settings is discussed with the parent in a regular manner. Under EYFS policies and legislation, I always listen to the advice and request of parent and professionals in order to make a synergistic approach for the children developmental process.

Safeguarding process:

In my workplace, we prioritise the safeguarding and protection for children in order to provide a positive and motivating learning environment. Based on the Children’s Centre Safeguarding Children Policy, all the staffs and professionals in my workplace maintain the proper action and processes in order to safeguard children from any kind of violation and abuse. In order to inspect the overall, safeguarding process, we have the Children Service Manager. The manager ensures that all the staffs and professional under the safeguarding procedures and policies and attends the proper training for two years in this field. Moreover, the manger in my workplace also ensures that the entire professional has extensive knowledge about different safeguarding issues and well-trained in identifying the alert tomes or signs of abuse and assault. Moreover, the children service manager in my workplace also ensures that all of us are quite knowledgeable regarding how to reporting after sensing any kind of abuse or violence with children to the responsible authority. Along with all professionals and staff, I also have learned how to ask a question regarding the safeguarding concern to the parent and the children. The manager trains all of us in the workplace, about how to communicate immediately with the higher authority and local official in sensing any kind of violence and abuse. Based on the Children’s Centre Safeguarding Children Policy, I can contact the parents on phone, in case of any kind of emergency. The healthcare authority ensures the proper staffing resources are providing to all the staffs and professionals in order to meet the needs of children. Under the Offender Act 1974, all the staffs and professional in my workplace need to have proper knowledge regarding the reporting of criminal records in the childcare centre. Moreover, the Children service manager also trains me and my team members regarding how to deal with criminal offences in order to protect children from violence. Moreover, I also get the information on the responsibility of healthcare authority in order to endure the protection and risk-free environment for whistleblowers in the workplace, In order to gain the proper information regarding any kind of abuse and assault with children.

Social policies:

Social policies in childcare and developmental assist the early years professional to provide the high quality and standard education and acre process to each child (Britto et al. 2017). Safeguarding and Children Protection Policy, is one of the most important childcare policy, which is strictly followed in my workplace, all the staffs and professional in my workplace, focus on providing the safe and protective environment for all children in order to protect them from any kind of violence, abuse and humiliation. On the other hand, Childcare Rights and Entitlement Policy, assist me and the other professional in my workplace, to promote the individual rights and entitlement of children, such as free education, proper safeguarding and protection, proper support from the society and high-quality developmental process (Chreim, 2015). Through implementing the guidelines of this policy, I use to promote the autonomy and the independence of children. Moreover, though implement this policy I and the other professional in my workplace are able to make a healthy relationship with the children. Children's Welfare Policy is another important social policy that is set to promote the physical and psychological wellbeing of children. Early years professionals in my workplace focus on maintaining a strong relation with children and their families for meeting their needs demand and preferences (Cornelissen et al. 2018). This policy assists me to set proper guidelines and policies for children which will meet their developmental and educational needs. Being the childcare staffs I also focus on positive transformation behaviour, cognitive approach and intellectual ability of children, through providing better educational and positive environment situation. Moreover, it can be stated that social policies are important for children in order to develop their social, intellectual and psychological behaviour, in order t achieve future goals.


From the above discussion, it can be concluded that early years setting is important for learning and development of children. It concludes that, leadership is effective in my setting through some key aspects, we encourage open communication with the team members, developing team culture with the children, and families have the ability to interact with others, also offer inspirational and credible values, vision and mission to the team. Leadership build's teamwork, using team members as the form of management, building team and collaboration. Through providing a positive learning environment and development framework, early year professional can improve children’s behaviour, intelligence and psychology. Partnership working is also important in order to promote the wellbeing of children. The leadership and management ensure safeguarding is effective. The manager supports all staff and makes sure that they're aware of the safeguarding procedure and the child protection issues and ensure they include this in their practice. Early year’s professionals need to focus on the safeguarding of children in order to protect them from violence and abuse. Moreover, EYFS also promote eh rights and entitlement if children in order to maintain their autonomy and independence.

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