‘Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) Brings a Wide Range of Benefits… But All These Benefits Are Conditional on Quality’: Questioning the Only Quality Reform Agenda

  • Elise HunkinEmail author


The quotation that appears in this chapter title is from Starting Strong III: A Quality Toolkit for ECEC (OECD 2012, 9) and starkly demonstrates the emerging ‘only quality’ reform agenda for early childhood that is under investigation in this chapter. Drawing on policy documents and knowledge production in Australia and globally, the chapter discusses ‘only quality’ agenda truth claims, logics and ambition. The goal is not to argue that ‘only quality’ discourse and agenda constitute a unilateral agreement or construct, but rather, to theorise how ‘only quality’ policy agenda reflects a shift in social investment governance approaches for early childhood settings. Some initial tensions and implications are discussed that set the scene for a broader critique in Chapter  5.


Early childhood quality reform Only quality agenda Neoliberalism-minus Policy analysis 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.RMIT BundooraRoyal Melbourne Institute of TechnologyBundooraAustralia

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