My day started well – I had to get up to Kensington Olympia for Childcare Expo and Southern Rail was actually running trains! I KNOW – what a result! I was interested to hear what the new minister for early years had to say at the Keynote Speech but, if I’m honest, I didn’t really think there would be much said of any substance. Instead she delivered the great news that equivalent qualifications (for those wishing to study for EYP status and the Level 3) will count from April. Previous qualification criteria has meant that while nurseries were able to hire staff without good GCSEs, these staff did not count towards the ratios. This has had the unfortunate result of potential new recruits being put off, if they were unable to achieve good enough GCSE grades, and has lead to serious staff shortages in the early years sector.
You could have ‘knocked me down with a feather’ – at last it seems like the government (or part of it at least) is not only listening to the early years sector but reacting and changing policy. The end of the session got a little bit ‘passionate’ with people concerned about the imminent 30-hours ‘free funding’ scheme – which is going to be anything but free to childcare providers, and many parents, with the current insufficient and unrealistic funding amounts (see my previous blog for more on this).
There were more changes affecting the sector today – with the long awaited revisions to the EYFS released. These will go live in April but read my blog ‘A glimpse of the Revisions to the EYFS’ from another seminar from today with Melanie Pilcher of the Pre-school Learning Alliance.