The Government’s policy requires all Level 3 Early Years Educators (EYEs) to have at least a C grade in GCSE English and maths. No equitable qualifications, such as Functional Skills, are accepted as alternatives.

But what does this mean for the sector, for parents and for children?

These are the top 4 need-to-know facts about this policy and the consequences to childcare if it is not revised.


1. There is a crisis in Early Years recruitment

The policy is acting as a barrier to new recruits joining the sector and to existing practitioners from progressing. 43% of nurseries report that they are struggling to find qualified staff. The number of students progressing to Level 3 has dropped by 70% since 2013/14.

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2. Parents’ access to the promised 30 hours free childcare will be threatened

The shortage in staff puts the Government’s promise in serious jeopardy. A recent survey by the National Day Nurseries Association found that less than 50 per cent of nurseries say they will be able to deliver the 30 hours.

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3. Childcare is being unfairly singled out

Functional Skills are accepted as equivalent qualifications in other sectors, including healthcare. The Government is putting at risk its pledge to achieve three million apprentices by 2020.


4. GCSEs aren’t the be all and end all for childcare practitioners

Good levels of English and maths are important for all those working in Early Years – but this is a “care” profession. Strong communication skills, empathy and knowledge of child development are just as important – and Functional Skills provide these, as well as good literacy and numeracy.



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