In 2014, the Government altered the requirements for those taking a Level 3 in childcare. Now, all Level 3 Early Years Educators (EYEs) must have at least a C grade in GCSE English and maths to count in the ratios - with equitable alternatives such as Functional Skills no longer considered as an option.

This policy is having a catastrophic impact on the Early Years sector, and in turn on parents and children.

#SaveOurEarlyYears, a campaign made up of leading childcare organisations, concerned parents and educators from across the country, is calling for one thing: a level playing field (in line with other sectors) for Functional Skills to be considered as an acceptable equivalent option to count in the ratios for Level 3 EYEs.

We need your help to make our voice heard in Government:

For more information on the campaign, please contact our press team at

What are the effects of this policy?

The current policy is turning away a workforce. How are providers expected to meet the demand for childcare along with the additional 30 hour free entitlement when they are experiencing a shortage of staff members?

The Government’s current policy is at odds with the wider approach it has taken, both in Apprenticeships policy and in other sectors where Functional Skills are accepted. Without Functional Skills accepted as an alternative to GCSE English and maths for Early Years Educators to count in the ratios:

  • Childcare providers cannot recruit enough staff
  • Potential new recruits, who have all the skills, including good English and maths, to be excellent Early Years Educators, will be barred from the sector
  • Parents' childcare bills will rise as the cost to providers of employing highly qualified staff is passed on
  • The Government is limiting its own chances of hitting its target of achieving three million apprentices by 2020