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Childcare minister pledges to review GCSE requirements

The childcare minister Sam Gyimah has announced that there will be a review of the GCSE requirements at Level 3.

The decision to revisit the Maths and English GCSE requirements for the Level 3 Early Years Educator qualification, which were introduced in 2014, was made following months of consultation with the sector, during which early years providers explained that “the most common issue in terms of attracting staff at Level 2 and 3 is the introduction of the GCSE requirement”.

PACEY and the Save Our Early Years Campaign have been calling for the Government to recognise functional skills equivalents alongside GCSEs for the Level 3 Early Years Educator qualification.

The minister has not yet given an indication of when the review will take place, though he vowed it was a “priority” and will be delivered alongside the workforce strategy, which will focus on recruitment, retention and career progression from Level 3 to 6.

Liz Bayram, Chief Executive of PACEY, said: “We are pleased to hear the minister today commit to the much needed review of GCSE requirements for Level 3 practitioners. PACEY, alongside others, have highlighted the growing challenge of recruiting qualified staff that many early years settings are facing.

“The current requirements were designed to raise the quality of the workforce but in reality are having the opposite effect, with many practitioners unable to progress their early years career because they do not meet this requirement.

“PACEY will be keen to ensure the review recognises the important role robust, improved functional skills qualifications can play as equivalent to GCSEs in Maths and English, just as they are for other professions.”