Early Years Teachers launch campaign to demand teacher status

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A group of early years teachers is campaigning to be awarded qualified teacher status in a bid to boost their standing and pay.

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EYTs feel they deserve the same pay as teachers, but are paid around half on average

Six EYTs, who all qualified from the University of Worcester this summer, have written to Education Secretary Justine Greening saying 'we would like to have the recognition that we deserve and be paid accordingly'. They say it is unfair that EYTs are usually paid less and unable to apply for the same jobs as teachers working with the equivalent age group.

They have also written to every university offering EYT courses about the campaign and providing a template letter which other EYTs can send to their local MP.

Emma Davis, group spokeswoman, said, ‘We feel that as we have had to meet the same entry requirements as those with QTS and meet a rigorous set of standards, we should be given QTS as part of the Early Years Teacher Status (EYTS). We have completed a course that is as demanding as any that awards QTS. However, EYTs do not have the status they deserve. One EYT attended an interview and was informed that if they were successful they would be offered £6,000 less than a person with QTS for undertaking exactly the same position.

‘Career opportunities are open to those with QTS which are denied to us. That is fundamentally wrong.’

While both teacher training and EYT courses have to pass the same entry requirements, EYTs earn half the hourly rate of their QTS counterparts on average. The Pre School Learning Alliance pay and conditions survey, published this week, shows that while teachers earn nearly £22 per hour, for EYTs this is £10.

Despite being paid for by the Government, the course has struggled to recruit sufficient numbers - just 37%, or 879 Early Years Teachers were recruited in 2014-5 out of a target of 2,400.

Now, the University of Worcester has dropped the undergraduate pathway to EYTS because of low demand, while 18 training providers are no longer offering the course in any form, with many citing low numbers as the reason.

 The Department for Education replied to the group’s campaign saying it was ‘looking at ways it continue to raise [EYTs} status and recognition amongst employers and parents.’

But on the issue of pay, it said, ‘The early years sector is largely made up of private, voluntary and independent providers …where the majority of EYTs are employed. Whilst the department determines appropriate training routes, sets professional standards and promotes the status of EYTs … it cannot set pay expectations for all early years providers. The pay and conditions of individuals who complete Early Years Initial Teacher Training and achieve EYTS are therefore determined by employers. However, we would expect early years providers to want to pay EYTs in accordance with their specialist skills and status.’

The group responded, ‘So how long does the government expect graduates to stay in the sector if they are being paid as little as the minimum wage? One EYT recently quoted that she could earn more ironing than working in the early years sector and she perceived that the whole year of intense study she had undertaken had been a complete waste of time. Is the money... on tuition fees being well spent if individuals end up leaving the profession?’

emma-davisMs Davis, who manages a day nursery in Herefordshire, added that she didn’t opt for QTS initially as she couldn’t do it while working. She said, ‘'I decided to do the EYT course because I could do it alongside my job, which I couldn’t do with QTS, and because I am dedicated to the early years. It was an awful lot of work and the qualification is unlikely to guarantee me a pay rise. I feel completely undervalued by the Government.'

The Government is working on a workforce strategy. In another response to the group, a DfE official says the strategy is being developed to ‘remove barriers to attracting staff' adding, ‘a part of this will also be to ensure that the wider sector has a clear understanding about the qualification and role of those with EYTS…We are aware that despite efforts to raise the status there does remain a lack of professional parity with teachers who hold QTS. This will help us formulate our approach to graduates in the workforce strategy.’

The Government has avoided setting a date, but the workforce strategy is expected to be published soon.

  • The group's Facebook page, Early Years Teachers EYTS, can be found here
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