This presentation will outline the focus, scope and emerging findings of the evaluation project which follows and assesses a new route to Early Years Professional Status (EYPS) which is run by the Centre for Early Childhood (CEC). This status relates to leadership of practice with children under 5yrs. The pilot route is an initiative sponsored by the Children’s Workforce Development Council. It aims to provide Early Childhood students with an opportunity to work towards their EYPS during their normal BA course. EYPS, despite its relatively short history, is beginning to shape the professional scene of early years professionalism. In order to achieve an EYPS, Early Years Professionals are expected to have accumulated a number of qualities and skills which allow them to develop a creative, critical and innovative approach towards leading and modelling good practice. The pilot project, being part of the BA course, involves some students with relatively small practical experience. From this perspective it is becoming even more important to address the issue of leading and modelling practice. Based on the analysis of the interviews with students, this presentation will focus on students’ own perceptions of leadership as they were at the point of entry in the pilot project
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