The BTEC Level 3 Nationals in Children's Play, Learning and Development qualifications are available as a certificate and a diploma, revised in line with the new EYE criteria.
The qualifications are available for full-time study or via a work-based route. They have been approved by the National College for Teaching and Leadership and accredited by Ofqual.
They will replace the current BTEC Level 3 Nationals in Children's Play, Learning and Development (CPLD), which were accredited in 2012.
Helen Perkins, who is head of school - early years at Solihull College and who was invited by Professor Cathy Nutbrown to be a member of the review panel on early years qualifications, said, 'They are good qualifications and they will lead to a well-qualified workforce. They have everything you would want them to have.' She said that the new BTEC qualifications are 'very robust, with detailed attention to theory' and a focus on child development, as well as 'back to basics on care routines'.
She added that there is also an understanding of the link between development and theory and the importance of play.
But Ms Perkins (above) said that she was disappointed at the Department for Education's decision not to work towards a fully Level 3 qualified workforce. 'With these robust qualifications there was a real opportunity to improve outcomes for young children,' she said.
The qualifications include a written paper-based exam on child development.
There are different sizes of the qualifications available to fit a variety of curriculum contexts (see below). For example, there is a BTEC Level 3 National subsidiary certificate-size qualification, which learners can take in their first year if they need to take their GCSE in English or maths before topping up in their second year to the certificate or diploma once they hold the relevant GCSEs at grade C or above.
The work-based Level 3 Diploma in Children's Play, Learning and Development (EYE) (QCF) features nine mandatory units and a range of optional units to meet learners' progression needs and interests.
Pearson consulted widely with the sector and further education providers when developing the qualifications.
The diploma contains units developed in consultation with the sector, including Montessori, Steiner and the Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years (PACEY).
Play is an integral part of the qualifications. Learners are required to have a placement working with the five to seven age range, as well as pre-school children.
This is designed to ensure that learners have the right skills to enable children to be 'school ready' and will also aid progression into primary teaching, which will play a bigger role as schools are encouraged to take two-year-olds.
UCAS points for the BTEC qualifications are due to be confirmed in spring 2014.
Jill Duffy, managing director UK schools at Pearson said, 'Having spent a long time working closely with early years professionals, our new qualifications aim to tick every box possible for those entering, or already working in, the early years profession, offering both EYE status and clear routes into higher education or employment.
'Most importantly, these new qualifications aim to provide early years professionals with the very best skills, knowledge and experience to secure the highest outcomes possible for the children they support.'
TAILORED TO FIT
The Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Certificate and Diploma in Children's Play, Learning and Development (Early Years Educator) have been designed to confer Early Years Educator status on learners and have been approved by the NCTL.
The qualifications will be available from September in the following sizes, to fit within a wide variety of curriculum contexts for Level 3 learners.
Subsidiary Award (180 Guided Learning Hours)
Award (360 GLH)
Subsidiary Certificate (540 GLH)
Certificate (720 GLH)
Diploma (1080 GLH)
This enables progression pathways for students who are keen to join the children's workforce but have not yet achieved their GCSE in English and maths grade C.
Learners who started the old CPLD courses in September 2013 will be able to transfer over to the new EYE in September 2014.