Busy Bees Training Academy Respond to new GCSE requirements for Early Years practitioners

From September, those wishing to pursue a career in childcare must have GCSE grades C or above in Maths and English, with alternative equivalent qualifications no longer accepted, in line with new regulations brought in by the Government.

However, campaigners argue that the new requirement will lead to "catastrophic" staff shortages and should be scrapped.

Opposing campaigners, such as the Save our Early Years campaign, say that recruitment has already been hit, whereas the government says numeracy and literacy skills are ‘essential’.

As the Training Manager for Busy Bees Training Academy, who has delivered over 1000 Childcare and Catering Apprenticeships over the last year, Fay Gibbin draws on her 18 years’ experience of working within the childcare sector and shares her thoughts on the new requirements;

“When recruiting our entry level apprentices onto our Childcare apprenticeships, we recruit on personalities and an aptitude for the job ahead. We don’t really think qualifications automatically make practitioners better equipped to nurture or inspire a child, specifically a child under the age of 5. Some skills, such as having empathy, dedication and enthusiasm for helping to shape a child’s future, can’t be taught and ultimately, these are the skills that we look for in all our staff, whatever exiting qualifications they hold.

“It is important that those who dedicate their lives to working with children achieve good results in English and Maths, and opportunities should be in place to help those individuals who did not reach the required levels in school for whatever reason. However, it is equally important that childcare practitioners gain academic and practical industry-appropriate qualifications and receive continual training that supports their desire to deliver the very best childcare and early year’s education.

“Raising the proven academic capabilities of entrants into childcare has long been championed by the Department for Education, who have progressively improved early years’ qualifications by setting more robust criteria and encouraging quality entrants into the profession through early years initial teacher training routes. As a result of their efforts, 87% of the childcare workforce now have level 3 qualifications and 13% have degrees.[1]

“We welcome entry levels standards, however we view qualifications, such as Functional Skills, as a credible alternative to GCSE’s, and would like to see the government reconsider their decision not to allow these as an alternative. We value the opportunities available to those aspiring to take on the privileged role of caring for children, and we would like to continue to encourage eager young minds to enter into the sector, whatever their current qualifications.”

[1] Government News- Childcare and Early Education Upskilling (updated 01.07.15)

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