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Level 3 GCSE entry requirements removed

The requirement of GCSE English and Maths for entry to standalone (non-apprenticeship) Early Years Educator courses in England at Level 3 is being removed by the Skills Funding Agency (SFA) from 1st August.

This will allow candidates who want to take a Level 3 Early Years Educator qualification to progress onto their chosen course more quickly, as well as providing consistency with Level 3 Apprenticeships entry.

In England, people who already hold GCSEs in English and Maths at grade C or above will be able to work in childcare settings, counting in the ratios required by the EYFS, once they have achieved their Early Years Educator qualification. Those who do not already have their GCSEs will need to gain these before counting in the staffing ratios.

Staff with a level 3 Early Years Educator qualification can lead and manage settings, so it is essential that they are suitably qualified and have an appropriate level of numeracy and literacy. A number of government-funded projects are available to help staff to improve core skills while they are training or in employment. Whilst the SFA will not place a formal exit requirement of GCSEs, they do expect providers of standalone (non-apprenticeship) courses to support learners to achieve the necessary GCSEs in English and maths alongside their Early Years Educator qualifications.

Liz Bayram, PACEY's Chief Executive, said, "We are delighted the Department for Education has taken time to understand the challenges the GCSE requirements have presented for settings looking to recruit staff and for practitioners keen to progress their early years career . This development is welcome news. It strikes the right balance between ensuring the high standards children deserve and supporting individuals to enter the profession or, for many already in childcare, to progress beyond Level 2.

"PACEY has valued the opportunity to work with the DfE on this and other workforce issues. It is positive progress on which we hope to build, so we can ensure everyone working in childcare is supported to gain the skills and knowledge they need to deliver high quality care and progress in their chosen profession."