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The rapidity of change in Irish early childhood policy over the last 20 years is clear to observers (OECD 2004). What may be debated is how significant the changes are. In this paper, we analyse changes in early childhood education and care policy in Ireland since 1995, using Hall’s (1993) typology of policy change to help understand how policies and institutions could change so much in appearance without changing their fundamental features or underlying philosophy. We demonstrate that, despite extensive change, a traditional policy paradigm has held constant, where the State’s role in direct service delivery remains limited, the State continues to be reluctant to intervene in “family matters” and education is prioritised over care.
Hayes, N., O’Donoghue-Hynes, B., Wolfe, T. (2013) Rapid Change without Transformation: The Dominance of a National Policy Paradigm over International Influences on ECEC Development in Ireland 1995-2012. International Journal of Early Childhood, vol. 45, no. 2, August, special issue “National Policies in a Globalised World”, pp.191-205. doi:10.1007/s13158-013-0090-5