Skills for Care has confirmed that there will be an interim framework for early years apprenticeships in place from 1 September.
As widely anticipated, it also confirms that apprentices will be required to already hold GCSE English and Maths at Grade C or above before they start on the Early Years Educator pathway.
The Advanced Level Apprenticeship will continue to have two pathways, but the first pathway will be changed from Early Learning and Care to Early Years Educator. The second pathway, Children and Young People’s Social care, will remain unchanged.
Nursery employers and early years organisations have previously raised concerns that making GCSE Maths and English at Grade C a requirement on entry rather than exit for apprenticeships will be a barrier to career progression for many working in early years.
Michael Freeston, director of quality improvement at the Pre-school Learning Alliance, said, ‘We believe that recruiting more suitable people to the sector is now likely to become even more difficult. At a time when the sector is struggling to recruit and retain a skilled workforce, it is concerning that potential childcare workers are being excluded from the apprenticeship scheme.
‘There are many potential candidates who are able to demonstrate the necessary skills and abilities to become excellent childcare practitioners however now need to overcome an additional barrier or obstacle to accessing suitable training.
‘There is no reason why learners cannot improve their capability in maths and English skills as they work through the apprenticeship framework.’
Speaking to Nursery World in June, director of PBD Training and nursery owner Ross Midgley, said, ‘A blanket entry requirement will exclude many who are perfectly capable of studying for GCSEs and an apprenticeship at the same time.’
The interim framework is intended to bridge the gap between the end of the current arrangements and when the new standards for early years apprenticeships are introduced next year.
In June, the early years trailblazer group submitted the draft standard for approval by ministers.