Rethinking early childhood workforce sustainability in the context of Australia's early childhood education and care reforms

Tamara Cumming*, Jennifer Sumsion, Sandie Wong

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)
5 Downloads (Pure)


Early childhood workforce sustainability is an important issue, with implications for children, families and national productivity, as well as for educators themselves. Yet, in many national contexts, workforce challenges continue to undermine efforts to support sustainability. In this article, we evaluate efforts to address early childhood workforce challenges in the Australian context, where extensive early childhood reforms are underway. We argue that attempts to address workforce challenges in current policy initiatives are limited and may be insufficient for sustaining the early childhood workforce in the long term. Given the critical role that the early childhood workforce plays in Australia’s early childhood reform agenda, we then consider how workforce sustainability could be rethought and other possibilities generated for addressing entrenched workforce challenges. We conclude by arguing that greater attention to the everyday politics of educators’ practice, along with the forces shaping these milieux, may be a way of generating new possibilities for supporting workforce sustainability.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2
Number of pages15
JournalInternational journal of child care and education policy
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2015. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • early childhood education
  • early childhood educators
  • early childhood teachers
  • post structural theory
  • Australia

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