Consultation launched on content and standards for updated Early Childhood Studies degree

Katy Morton
Wednesday, November 3, 2021

The sector is invited to respond to a consultation on a revision to the nature of Early Childhood Study degrees and the academic standards expected of graduates.

The consultation invites respondents to consider the new Subject Benchmark Statement for Early Childhood Studies, PHOTO Adobe Stock
The consultation invites respondents to consider the new Subject Benchmark Statement for Early Childhood Studies, PHOTO Adobe Stock

The QAA (Quality Assurance Agency) consultation outlines proposed changes to the 2019 Subject Benchmark Statement for Early Childhood Studies - used as a reference point in the design, delivery and review of programmes.

Subject Benchmark Statements describe the nature of study and show what graduates might reasonably be expected to know, do and understand at the end of their studies.

To ensure they continue to serve as useful points of reference, the QAA – an independent body that checks standards and quality in higher education, initiates regular reviews of the content of Subject Benchmark Statements, five years after they are first published, and every seven years subsequently, or in response to significant changes to subjects.

This latest review of the Benchmark Statement for Early Childhood Studies was carried out by an advisory group from the higher education sector and Early Childhood Studies Degrees Network.

Revised statements also consider the role of equality, diversity and inclusion, Education for Sustainable Development (ESD), enterprise and entrepreneurship, and accessibility for disabled students.

Respondents to the consultation are invited to consider the new Statement and provide their responses through the QAA’s online portal.

The QAA, in co-ordination with the Early Childhood Studies Advisory Group, will consider the responses and publish the revised Statement in Spring 2022.

Dr Ailsa Crum, director of membership, quality enhancement and standards at QAA, said, ‘Our work on the Subject Benchmark Statements provides QAA with the opportunity to engage with the academic and subject communities, as well as students, employers and professional, statutory and regulatory bodies (PSRBs) to ensure that these Statements make a [Education for Sustainable Development] meaningful contribution to course design and quality management.

‘The inclusion of new areas of focus such as ESD and accessibility presents the opportunity to develop an inclusive, supportive and sustainable vision for subject communities. This should ensure the Subject Benchmark Statements will continue to act as a springboard for innovation and transformational change at disciplinary level.’

'This is an important consultation'

Karen Boardman, head of early years education at Edge Hill University and chair of TACTYC, urged the sector to respond to the consultation and ensure the statement 'reflects what the sector needs and wants'.

She said, 'This is an important consultation for employers, nursery chains, academic communities, students and advisors. I would urge all stakeholders to get involved in this important consultation.

'We hear a lot about graduate outcomes having a greater focus for establishing quality in higher education institute provision, alongside consistent aims to raise the status and quality of the early years workforce in settings. This consultation offers the diverse range of early years stakeholders a vital and timely opportunity to get involved and ensure that these statements reflect what the sector needs and wants for the early childhood education and care community.'

 

  • The closing date for responses to the consultation is midday on Thursday 9 December.

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