When policy becomes established, the ideologies underpinning it largely define professional identity and what is then generally accepted as good practice in the education of children. Teachers are then required to practise within an artificially constructed context, which largely defines what ‘quality’ should look like. While some form of artificial individualism appears to remain, the reality is that it does so only through a prescriptive framework that is defined and regulated through data-driven performance and accountability. Debate, then, becomes restricted and superficial and perhaps most worryingly, threatening to those values promoted by some policy and decision-makers. Hidden beneath many of the imposed conditions and requirements by recent governments and ever-increasing scrutiny by inspection bodies are new and concerning elements in childhood that have not been properly recognised and are poorly understood but that society expects teachers to manage in what are largely government-prescribed ways that they may have little if any faith in.