Institute for Learning Sciences & Teacher Education

Learning-rich leadership for quality improvement in early education


This project will establish Australia’s first evidence base to inform quality improvement in early childhood education services through the development of Educational Leaders. Effective leadership is essential to ensuring the effective implementation of the Australian government’s National Quality Standards for early childhood education. A new theory of ‘learning-rich’ leadership for quality improvement will be developed to influence leadership education in the early childhood sector. Australia will benefit from an empirically valid theory to inform policy and teacher education, and increased effectiveness in service quality for the 1.9 million children attending early childhood education in Australia every week.


  • Australian Research Council, Discovery Project $503,472



Chief Investigator/s

Partner Investigator

Research Team

  • Dr Louise Kay, University of Sheffield
  • Carole Lanting, Monash University

Publications about the Project Methodology

Nuttall, J. (2013). The potential of Developmental Work Research as a professional learning methodology in early childhood education. Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, 13(3), 201-211.

Nuttall, J., Thomas, L., & Henderson, L. (2016). Formative interventions in leadership development in early childhood education: the role of ‘double stimulation’. International Journal of Early Childhood, 16(1), 80-91.

Publications about the work of Educational Leaders

Nuttall, J., & Thomas, L. (2015). Time and temporality in early childhood educators’ work. European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, 23(4), 512-523.

Nuttall, J., Thomas, L., & Wood, E. (2014). Travelling policy reforms re-configuring the work of early childhood educators in Australia. Globalisation, Societies and Education, 12(3), 358-372.

Thomas, L. & Nuttall, J. (2014). Negotiating policy-driven and state-mandated expectations of leadership: The discourses accessed by early childhood educators in Australia. New Zealand Research in Early Childhood Education, 17, 101-114.;dn=685747685441131;res=IELHSS

Videos and podcasts for Educational Leaders

Conceptualising the role of educational leader

Leadership in education and care

Developing yourself and others

About educational leaders, from the Early Education Show