There is no doubt that English and maths are important for those working in childcare – but early years practitioners also need those real-life skills that help them solve the everyday problems that their jobs entail.

That is why the sector is urging the Government to think again and reinstate Functional Skills as an equivalent alternative to GCSEs in English and maths for Level 3 Early Years Educators. They are qualifications that, if achieved, demonstrate goods standards of literacy and numeracy, and also soft skills.

But the current policy is proving to be a wholly unnecessary barrier that is blocking talented people, capable of contributing so much to childcare, from joining the children’s workforce, or from progressing from Level 2.

Apart from its inherent unfairness, the policy is also causing a recruitment crisis in childcare settings. There is a growing body of evidence that nurseries are simply no longer able to find the people they need – at a time when recruits are needed more than ever – because people are not coming through the system.

New nurseries are needed, and are opening, to meet the demand caused by the ever increasing number of working parents and the 30 hours a week free childcare promise – both in themselves very positive developments, of course – but now almost half of all settings are reporting they cannot find the Level 3 practitioners required to work in them. And that is in turn leaving parents with reduced childcare choices.

Early years is primarily care profession, where knowledge of looking after children and the quality of that care, alongside good English and maths, are the key attributes for successful, high-class practitioners. If the Government cares about childcare, it needs to re-think this policy, before it is too late.


2 thoughts on “Parents are being left with reduced childcare choices

  1. The removal of GCSE English and Maths and to re-introduce functional skills would reinstate equality for apprentices to develop in the vital employability skills for a nursery/ childcare setting and one being the important skill of caring and understanding the vital needs of children. This would not only allow all to become engaged in childcare but would also increase interest back into this sector. As a teacher and assessor of childcare and education I have witness the decline in numbers of people wanting to enter this career and most importantly has stopped mature, experienced and often already have the parental skills required to become a practitioner.

    Please reconsider as with nurseries struggling to recruit and government restrictions I can see only see a downward spiral for our future in good quality childcare. I personally agree that there needs to be recognition to the importance of English and Math’s but does this really mean GCSE level?

    Think smart and Think of the future of this industry!

  2. Changes to EY qualifications and frameworks have created additional barriers to recruitment within the sector. Those who work in the sector are not necessarily academics and the introduction of Maths and English GCSE has further limited an individuals ability to progress in a job role that so many clearly enjoy and want to make their career. I appreciate that children develop from an early age but the level of Maths, English and ICT being applied at pre-school level does not warrant these grades, if they are not needed for STLS qualifications, why early years education specifically?

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