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PACEY sets out vision for developing the early years workforce

PACEY has today set out how early years and childcare professionals can be better supported to deliver high quality care and early education, and encouraged to stay and progress in the profession.

Our policy briefing Towards an Early Years Workforce Development Strategy for England has been produced in response to Childcare Minister Sam Gyimah’s firm commitment in December, to work in partnership with the sector, to publish a workforce strategy during 2016.

The briefing makes clear that this workforce plan must not only encourage new entrants into the sector but also support and motivate current early years practitioners to stay and progress their careers in early years.

PACEY demonstrates how a workforce development strategy can help ensure Government seizes the opportunity that the free childcare extension represents to support a confident and motivated workforce. Without this PACEY is concerned that Government’s ambitious aim to double the free early education entitlement will be challenging to deliver.

Towards an Early Years Workforce Development Strategy for England makes a series of practical recommendations that PACEY believes the strategy should address:

  • Increasing qualification levels – improving support for all childcare professionals to achieve a full and relevant Level 3 qualification and beyond, as well as introducing a programme of support to encourage more members of the early years workforce to reach graduate level
  • Career pathways and progression routes – mapping out clearly and comprehensively the early profession including entry points, different career paths and specialisms; resolve the differences between Early Years Teacher and Qualified Teacher Status; and promote the early years as a profession to the wider public.
  • Recognising and encouraging Continued Professional Development (CPD) – supporting early years providers through accessible and affordable training and development; developing an early years CPD one-stop-shop with information on training and CPD opportunities, as well as grants, bursaries and other funding. Government should also consider a requirement for a minimum level of CPD for all practitioners as is required of other professionals.

Liz Bayram, Chief Executive, PACEY says:

“Our sector’s greatest asset is the 400,000 or more people already working in settings. PACEY believes, despite times of public funding restraint, more can be done to support our fantastic practitioners to progress in early years and be better rewarded and valued for the vital work they do. This, along with motivating more people to enter the profession, should be at the centre of Government plans to double the free early education for working families. We have welcomed the Childcare Minister’s commitment to workforce development and are delighted that he is keen to work with the sector on this important issue. PACEY’s ambition is for a workforce strategy that ensures long-term sustainability and leaves a lasting legacy on the quality of care and early years education in this country.”

Read the full policy document outlining PACEY’s aspirations for a workforce strategy here

Read Liz Bayram's blog on HuffPost Parents here.