The group, led by Busy Bees, the largest nursery group in the UK, has drawn up a new draft Level 3 apprenticeship standard for the Early Years Educator (EYE) qualification.
It follows publication of the previous draft standard in November 2014 by the former Trailblazer group, which was sacked by the Department for Education (DfE) in February because of ‘very slow progress’. The accompanying assessment at Level 3 submitted by the group was never published.
The new Trailblazer, which consists of several nursery providers and Birmingham City University, is inviting employers to provide feedback on the standard via an online survey.
It is also working closely with nursery group Bright Horizons, while the National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA) is playing an advisory role, publicising the consultation to its members and the wider sector.
Fay Gibbin, training manager at Busy Bees Training Academy, said, ‘This wider consultation is an opportunity for employers across the sector to provide feedback on the EYE standard. It is essential the group gathers the views of the sector as a whole to ensure they accurately reflect the needs of the industry and are robust enough to ensure the early years workforce has the knowledge, skills and behaviour to provide the very best childcare.
‘The early years landscape has changed since the initial approval to develop the apprenticeship standards and we welcome the opportunity to work with external, credible childcare organisations to review these standards and ensure the whole sector continues to develop a strong, knowledgeable workforce who are dedicated and able to deliver the very best care.
‘The review is long overdue, and we believe that the development of a new standard in line with childcare practice today is vital to the safety and quality of care children receive.
‘Our ultimate goal is to attract more childcare professionals into the industry and to show young people and those looking for a change in profession that a total career path is available within the sector, from Level 2 apprenticeships up to degree level.’
Following the consultation, the Trailblazer will submit the standard in May to the DfE for approval. A panel at the department will review the submission before allowing the group to proceed to the next phase. On Busy Bees’ website, it reveals the group also plans to develop standards for Levels 2, 5 and 6.
Difference in standards
Comparing the new standard with the one drawn-up by the previous Trailblazer group, the new one contains much more detail.
The new EYE draft standard now lists ‘care and compassion’ and ‘effective communication’ as personal attributes and behaviour expected of all Early Years Educators carrying out their role. It also states that Early Years Educators should be able to effectively work as part of a team and be committed to improving children’s outcomes.
It goes on to provide a full breakdown of requirements, previously included in the former standard, that Early Years Educators must be able to do.
The new standard also features a fuller list of qualifications apprentices must complete, including the full paediatric first aid certificate and ICT award, and mentions functional skills as an alternative to GCSEs.
The previous standard was published before the Government reinstated functional skills as alternatives to GCSEs in English and maths for level 3 qualifications in March.
Stella Ziolkowski, the NDNA's director of quality and workforce development, said, ‘NDNA understands the importance of consulting with the sector in order to develop apprenticeship standards.
‘Employers know what they need from their employees and it is key that they are engaged in this process of development. It is crucial that the links between the Department for Education’s Workforce Strategy and the development of apprenticeship standards are made. NDNA is providing a vehicle for this to happen in playing an advisory role to the group.
‘We will be communicating this consultation to our members and encouraging the whole sector to participate and share their views.’
As well as Busy Bees and Birmingham City University, the Trailblazers group is formed of representatives from:
- Darcy Bunnie Nursery;
- Little Cupcakes;
- Hollies Day Nursery;
- Blossom Day Nursery
- Cheeky Monkeys Day Nursery;
- The Learning Tree
- Shapes Day Nursery
- Holmes Park Day Nursery, and;
- First Quest Day Nursery
The consultation closes on 17 May. To take part in the consultation click here