Responding to the Department for Education consultation, Julie Hyde, Associate Director of CACHE, the organisation leading the Save Our Early Years Campaign, said:

“We welcome the consultation launched today – this is encouraging and we hope it paves the way for the GCSE-only rule to be dropped, and for Functional Skills to be reinstated as an equivalent qualification for Level 3 Early Years Educators.

“There is no doubt that the GCSE-only policy has seriously impacted on recruitment. Reinstating Functional Skills will enable early years settings to again hire the brilliant practitioners they need, and will again allow staff to progress, and remain in the workforce. Parents and their children will directly benefit from a greater choice of high-quality care, with more providers able to deliver the 30-hour free childcare entitlement. We fully support the need for early years practitioners to have high-quality literacy and numeracy, and Functional Skills provides this

“Caroline Dinenage deserves real credit for listening to the sector and to our concerns, and for launching the consultation. We would encourage everyone to respond to the consultation so that the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) is amended to again include Functional Skills. All other sectors have Functional Skills accepted as an equivalent qualification – there is no reason for the early years sector to be an exception.”

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