A campaign calling for the Government to reconsider its policy regarding GCSE grade requirements for Early Years Educators (EYE) was launched last week.
The Council for Awards in Care, Health and Education (CACHE) has launched the campaign following the impact a policy change has had on the early year’s sector. In 2014, the Government changed the requirements for EYE’s, stating that all EYE’s must have at least a grade C in both English and Maths to be able to be counted in ratios within nurseries. Before this time, if a candidate did not possess these grades they could go on to complete Functional Skills, allowing them to complete their Level 3 qualification and be left in charge of a room at nursery. The 2014 policy amendment however also meant that this was no longer the case; meaning there is no longer an equivalent for candidates to complete their Level 3 other than retaking their GCSE’s.
The childcare sector, the only sector where Functional Skills are not allowed as an equivalent, is now seeing the consequences of this change as providers are finding it challenging to recruit Level 3’s, or Level 3 candidates are qualifying but not being awarded the appropriate qualification and so are only being employed, and paid, as Level 2’s. Potential candidates who may be excellent in childcare are therefore being discouraged from working in the sector. This decline will impact both the quality and cost-effectiveness of childcare particularly in light of the upcoming changes to 3 and 4 year old funding later this year.
The Department for Education (DfE) has commented that it is ‘not going to apologise for raising standards’ and that not allowing Functional Skills to be an equivalent will ‘raise the overall quality of literacy and numeracy skills of those entering the workforce.’ While all childcare providers will agree that Level 3’s should be competent in English and Maths skills, they recognise that not all those who are capable learn in the same way; where GCSE’s may be right for some, more practical learning methods through Functional Skills may be right for others.
The campaign, Save Our Early Years, was launched on 5th April on social media, with supporters urged to write to Education Secretary Nicky Morgan and raise the campaign’s profile on Twitter, by following them @SaveOurEarlyYrs with the hashtag #SaveOurEarlyYears. You can find out more details about the campaign on their website.
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