More Great Childcare- My Personal Thoughts – Part Four   2 comments

Now looking at the ‘new’ qualifications that are being put forward

I have to admit that while Cathy Nutbrown is right to say that there are too many different qualifications and that the quality of those qualifications is poor – what  I do not understand is  why Ms.Truss is making  suggestions to change then straight away,  as new qualifications are already developed. It would seem to me that anyone thinking of taking a qualification NOW will reconsider as it will not be the ‘right’ one – and any student already enrolled on a course at the moment must be rather depressed knowing that the course that they are on is already out of date.

As with changes to EYFS 12 – time has not been given to see if the changes already made will improve outcomes – or not. It just all seems to be done in haste – without any reflection on changes already put in place.

I am sure that everyone reading this is familiar with Quality Circles  and no matter which one you prefer; they all have the same principle – observe, reflect, implement change, observe, reflect – and on and on. It seems to me that the government has not allowed time to observe or reflect – just to jump in with both feet and implement change

Jumping in with both feet – could  well mean that until the first cohort of students on the new courses start graduating in 2016 – we will have a period of time when no one is entering the childcare sector with appropriate qualifications.

Moving on to talk about the specific qualifications;

Early Years Teachers

First, if I was an Early Years Professional (EYP) I would be miffed to say the least- all those promises, all that work – all so another qualification can be brought in – Early Years Teachers as the new ‘lead people’

And  I have some news for Ms.Truss – there are already a number of early years teachers who specialised in early years for their teaching degree – and many of whom have not been able to secure a teaching job.

How do I know? My youngest daughter is one! She has a 2.1 degree as a teacher with her specialism being early years, so children age 3 – 7.

If these people can’t get jobs, will Ms Truss be setting others up to get into a lot of student debt, to work hard – 4 years in my daughters case – and then not be able to get jobs!

So that is two groups of people who could be justified in saying – the government has promised this before.

However the most worrying bit is  ‘All Early Years Educators will be required to have  at least a C grade in GCSE English and maths,’   AND ‘They will often act as assistants to Early Years Teachers’

AND

‘It is our aspiration that over time, group childcare will increasingly be delivered by Early Years Teachers and Early Years Educators’ 

So what about all those early years staff with years of knowledge and skills built from hands on experience – but without the required English and maths C grades? Will they be made redundant? or will they remain the poorly paid, lowest of low staff in early years settings?

In my opinion that would be a major mistake and one that could see many very good early years staff leaving the profession, because they will not  feel valued.

Although I have noted that current qualifications will be assessed against the criteria in place when they were awarded, it is unlikely that unless someone under takes further training to become a Early Years Teacher or an Early Years Educator that they will get ‘left behind’ while those joining the profession will be seen to be the new ‘all singing, all dancing’ experts.

I am not against higher qualifications – BUT I think recognition needs to given to all those currently working in early years settings – and especially those who are ‘more mature’ and have raised their own families / have many years of experience and knowledge.

Do not underestimate the skills they bring to the sector – and the huge gap in expertise that would be created  if these people decided that these changes were ‘a step too far’

Why can’t recognition  be given to those settings that may lack formal qualifications, but have been graded good or outstanding by Ofsted; and dispensation given for them to continue as they are in the positions that they hold – so managers / room leaders  and so on – without  either the need to under go further training or to be side lined by those entering the profession with higher qualifications? They have jumped through hoops for many years and have proved through their Ofsted judgments that the children are progressing well and are safe

One point is puzzling me – will childminders be expected to hold these new qualifications if they do not already have one of the ‘old’ qualifications?  And if so will it just be those that choose to have a independent Ofsted inspection or all childminders- including those than are part of an agency?

It is all a bit confusing – Lets take my own situation

I will not be joining an agency – I would rather give up childminding. I could, I suppose run an agency but that would be very hypocritical – saying I won’t join one but it is ok for others to join one run by me. So I won’t be running an agency either.

I will want to retain my own registration and be inspected by Ofsted and be graded  on my setting and  on my practice.

So where do I stand qualifications wise? I have a ‘old’ level 3 in early years and childcare, I have studied at university to level 5 but left due to ill health so do not have a certificate – just a list of modules covered and grades given.

I do not have maths GCSE, so (unless I take one now) I will not be able to become a Early Years Educator – even if I wanted to / had the time and the financial means to do so.

I have read and re read – and the only thing I can find is where in the chart of Nutbrowns recommendations it says about all front line staff being qualified to level 3 – it says ‘still under consultation’

However I have also noted that it is possible that a requirement may be made (after consultation) that 100% of staff have at least a C in maths or English or 100 % of staff should be qualified to level 3 – even if they don’t want to train to be Early Years Educators.

Maybe someone should work out just how many early years staff would not meet this requirement – and the potential crisis this could cause – both if they stayed and if they left the profession.

So for me personally,  a big question mark hangs over this point – and to be honest I feel as if the government has decided that childminders are not going to be treated the same as other early years settings – that all the hard won equality with those other settings is about to be wiped away.

Therefore my next blog post will focus on childminders and the changes that are being put forward – and are to start being implemented as early as September 2013

Posted February 3, 2013 by psw260259 in My thoughts on current childcare issues

2 responses to “More Great Childcare- My Personal Thoughts – Part Four

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  1. No matter how many qualifications you have they can not make you have the essential skills for childcare – patience and kindness would be at the top of my list! Experience and knowledge should be valued and I don’t see why a qualification will raise the perception of the public toward childcare workers. Yes we are underappreciated and underpaid but will enforcing qualifications improve this? I’m a graduate who’s career changed into childcare but I’m not particularly valued and certainly not well-paid. As for the EYPS – my thoughts exactly – I am currently on the course and really wondering why I’m bothering. If its equivalant to ‘early years teacher’ then they might as well just call all EYP’s that but at the end of the day those who have done it on the old system will still be deemed as less than the new qualification.

  2. The qualifications part of the ‘reforms’ is a red herring. There’s nothing in the legislation to say that a certain proportion of staff will have to be educated to a certain level. There are just lots of questions and discussions about it so they can spin the new regulations as “increasing qualifications in staff”. Really, it’s about upping the staffing ratios to make nurseries and childminding more profitable, so corporate ‘care’ agencies and massive new McNurseries can move in and run the show. The last paragraph of the document says that these big corporate outfits will be able to write their own regulations anyway, so they’ll be able to make it up as they go along re. staff qualifications and training.

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