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Changes to childcare qualifications in Wales

Major changes to qualifications for people looking to work in health, social care and childcare in Wales has been announced. 

A suite of up to 20 new qualifications will replace more than 240 existing ones in the biggest changes to qualifications ever seen in the sector in Wales. The new qualifications will be taught from September 2019, with the first certificates awarded in 2020.

It follows a review published in 2016 by independent regulator Qualifications Wales on the sectors. 

Following a tender process to select an awarding body Qualifications Wales have announced that contracts have been awarded to a consortium of City & Guilds and WJEC. The consortium will work with Qualifications Wales, Social Care Wales, NHS Wales, teachers, trainers, assessors and other key stakeholders- including PACEY Cymru- to design and deliver these new qualifications.

The Chief Executive of Qualifications Wales, Philip Blaker, said

“These changes are amongst the most substantial ever seen in the vocational qualifications system in Wales.  We are addressing the issues highlighted in our review. The new qualifications will be introduced with the full support of our partners who have a wealth of knowledge about the needs of employers, and the people they provide care for. The current qualifications are provided by 21 different bodies so moving to one awarding consortium will make career planning and progression routes clearer and more straightforward.”

PACEY Cymru is involved in ongoing work to draft the content of the new qualifications alongside other key partners and this will be a large area of work going forward to ensure the new qualifications are fit for purpose and accessible to childminders.

Claire Protheroe, Direct Services Manager (Wales) for PACEY stated

'The announcement of the outcome of the tender will allow for work that has been ongoing over the last year on content of qualifications to be taken forward and progress. PACEY Cymru will continue to work to ensure members and all registered childminders in Wales have access to qualifications that are fit for purpose, accessible and achievable. It is also important for continued funding for qualifications for those working in childcare to be in place and for Welsh Government to ensure that any revised funding models meet the needs of the sector given the changes. By undertaking qualifications those working in childcare and early years can grow their skills, knowledge and understanding and demonstrate professional development and career progression to CSSIW, parents and others who use their service.'

What do the changes mean?

  • The new qualifications will be taught to learners aged 14 and upwards across Wales from  September 2019. The suite of up to 20 qualifications, from Level 1 to 5, are designed to reduce complexity and raise quality and consistency in the sector.
  • The new qualifications will only be provided by the City & Guilds and WJEC consortium. This means they will be the only ones eligible for funding on programmes of learning funded by the Welsh Government and local authorities. The NHS will also be funding parts of their workforce to undertake these qualifications.
  • From September 2019, these will be the qualifications that feature in apprenticeship frameworks for learners of all ages undertaking related apprenticeships.
  • Learners who register for study on or after 1 September 2019 will take one of the new qualifications.
  • The current qualifications will continue to be funded until the new qualifications are introduced. There will also be a transition period to allow learners who are on existing courses to complete their qualifications.
  • Current childcare qualifications will still be recognised for working in the sector so those that hold one of these will not need to necessarily complete one of the new qualifications at the same level.  Continuous professional development and keeping updated is important though and members and others working in the sector may want to consider undertaking further training and higher level qualifications.