A spokesperson for the Department for Education (DfE) told Nursery World that 16-19-year-olds who receive Government funding through the Education Funding Agency will not require GCSE maths and English Grade A*-C to start the Early Years Educator qualification.
However, the department made it clear that it expects those learners without a minimum Grade C in English and/or maths to study GCSEs alongside the Early Years Educator course.
Currently, 16-19-year-olds without GCSE English and maths grade A*-C have to study some form of English and maths as part of their study programme.
From 2016/17 students will need to have completed or be studying GCSE English and mathematics for their study programme to be funded.
As Nursery World reported at the beginning of the week, learners over the age of 19 who receive Government funding, for instance the 24+ Advanced Learning Loan, will still require a minimum of grade C in English and maths at GCSE in order to enrol on an Early Years Educator course.
In contrast, GCSE maths and English will not be an entry requirement for self-funded learners.
However, if learners who complete the Early Years Educator qualification do not achieve a minimum of grade C English and maths at GCSE they will not count towards a nursery’s ratios at Level 3, details of which will be included in the revised EYFS in April.
A DfE spokesperson said, ‘Learners who are self-funding do not need GCSEs in maths and English to start the Early Years Educator qualification, but to get a job at Level 3 they do need this.’
Training provider CACHE said it had provided its customers with a full breakdown of Early Years Educator entry requirements.
The DfE clarification follows widespread confusion among the sector about whether learners will or will not need GCSEs in maths and English to start the new Level 3 qualification.
Nursery World has also learnt that the Department for Education and Department for Business, Skills and Innovation have met up to discuss their conflicting entry requirements.
While the DfE requires most learners to have GCSEs in English and maths for the Early Years Educator qualification, apprentices on the BIS Trailblazers apprenticeship were expected to need only Functional Skills, rather than GCSEs.
However, in a turn of events, Nursery World now understands that the requirement to have only Functional Skills for the Trailblazers apprenticeship may be changed to GCSE A* to C passes in English and Maths, in line with the Department for Education.