Childcare Early Years

Preparing for the new Early Years Educator Qualification

In July this year, the National College for Teaching and Leadership published the criteria for the new Level 3 Early Years Educator Qualification. This will be introduced in September 2014 and has some significant implications for everyone teaching in childcare and early years.

The Early Years Educator (EYE)

Concern has been expressed over the past two years that the current early years qualifications system is not equipping practitioners with the knowledge and skills they need to give young children high quality experiences.

EYEThe review conducted by Professor Cathy Nutbrown in June 2012, made nineteen recommendations for improvement, which have now been integrated into the new EYE qualification.

All qualifications from 1 September 2014 must demonstrate that they meet the new ‘full and relevant’ EYE criteria. Awarding bodies in childcare and early years (including CACHE and BTEC) are currently developing their qualifications in order to meet these new criteria.

EYE criteria

It is anticipated that the new Level 3 Early Years Educator qualifications will take on average two years to complete.

All EYE qualifications will require learners to demonstrate an in-depth understanding of early years education and care, including that they can:

  • support and promote children’s early education and development
    plan and provide effective care, teaching and learning that enables children to progress and prepares them for school
  • make accurate and productive use of assessment
  • develop effective and informed practice
  • safeguard and promote the health, safety and welfare of children
  • work in partnership with the key person, colleagues, parents and/or carers or other professionals

Major changes

The new EYE qualification has introduced a number of significant changes, including:

  • Level 3 should be considered the minimum qualification level for employment in settings where the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) is being followed.
  • All entrants to EYE training programmes will need to have at least a Grade C at GCSE in English and Maths.
  • Training providers will be expected to include a high proportion of practical work experience in their courses, usually only with settings graded ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’

What does this mean for you?

The introduction of these changes will have some significant implications for everyone teaching in childcare and early years, including:

Planning for 2014: communicating with your awarding bodies and making sure that the programmes you are offering meet the “full and relevant” criteria for the EYE qualification

Recruiting learners: making sure that the learners you are recruiting onto Level 3 programmes have at least a Grade C at GCSE in English and Maths.
Practical training in high quality placements: communicating with your practical training placements to share the new EYE expectations that only settings that are rated ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ should be able to host students on placement. 
Professional training and development: for example, making sure that your staff team are up to date with the prime and specific areas of development and learning within the EYFS. Two of the criteria for the new EYE qualification are that learners will:

1.6 Understand the importance to children’s holistic development of:
speech, language and communication
personal, social and emotional development
physical development

1.7 Understand systematic synthetic phonics in the teaching of reading, and a range of strategies for developing early literacy and mathematics.

Clearly, these changes will present challenges for us all, however, we need to raise our expectations of what it means to work with young children and attract the best people into the workforce. You will be hugely influential in this process.

Further information:

Janet Stearns, EYE Consultant, Lecturer in Early Childhood Studies and former Lead Examiner for CACHE

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  • Please could you tell me if GCSEs taken 6 years ago of level c and above are adequate for this course? My training provider learn direct is insisting that one of my nursery nurses take her GCSEs maths and englush again because she took them over 5 years ago!

  • Having worked in childcare, pre-school and primary for 13 years I am finding this course a nightmare, Pearson have set questions that are hard to understand, grammatically incorrect and hardly relate to the criteria (which is extensive) and this makes trying to work out what is required very difficult. Each task is taking at least 7 hours, 10 hrs in some instances to complete. From PowerPoints to flowcharts this course would be best suited to a degree level student, very intensive!!! I work 3 days a week and have no idea how people working full-time cope with this. I started this in May and have 8 months left to complete this, the LGSS training providers are over worked and understaffed, this course does not meet expectations and is nothing like the previous level 3 qualification. As an example I completed a 3800 task on legislation and regulations, it was worth 1% of the overall mark.

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