Today the Childcare and Early Years Minister, Caroline Dinenage, has announced that the Government will now accept functional skills as an equivalent to GCSEs for level 3 early years practitioners.
This is great news for PACEY who has been campaigning directly with Government, as well as working alongside our sector colleagues as a founding member of the Save Our Early Years campaign.
Since 2014, early years practitioners have been required to hold GCSEs in Maths and English at Grade C or above in order to receive a Level 3 Early Years Educator qualification and count in the ratios in group settings.
Early years employers, representative bodies and colleges have been warning for many months that the GCSE requirements are having a negative impact on recruitment – and preventing many capable practitioners from progressing their careers. Earlier this year, PACEY conducted a survey of colleges which found a steep decline in the number of enrolments on Level 3 courses and widespread opposition to the GCSE requirements.
PACEY made clear our arguments for over-turning the current policy in our response to the Government’s consultation on literacy and numeracy qualification requirements for level 3 Early Years Educator staff.
In our view, Level 3 staff require a wide range of literacy and numeracy knowledge and skills to support children’s early learning, and that these can be demonstrated in other ways, not just in having a GCSE qualification.
Responding to the news, Liz Bayram, Chief Executive of PACEY, said:
“We are delighted that the Minister has today announced the decision on GCSE requirements for Level 3 practitioners. Recognising functional skills qualifications as equivalent to GCSEs in Maths and English is a major step forward in helping to address the recruitment crisis facing the sector. PACEY has been pleased to have played a part in the cross-sector call for action on this important issue which will help ensure that talented practitioners working in the sector are able to progress and develop their skills. We will continue to raise the need to strengthen functional skills so that practitioners have the skills they need to support children’s numeracy and literacy early learning.”