Consultation on Level 2 early years qualifications launches

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A consultation on the criteria for the new Level 2 early education qualifications has been released by the Department for Education.


The DfE consultation seeks views on the new L2 early years assistant quaifications

The 12-week consultation seeks views on the proposed qualifications criteria for the Level 2 Early Years Assistant. The consultation closes on 28 February 2018.

Plans to develop criteria for the Level 2 qualifications were outlined in the Government’s Early Years Workforce Strategy, published in March. Level 2 is equivalent to grades A to C at GCSE.

The strategy said that Level 2 needed to be revised because recruiting and retaining Level 2 staff is difficult and the content of level 2 qualifications does not always give the trainees the knowledge and skills to practise effectively. It was difficult for employers to recognise a suitable qualification.

The proposed qualification criteria states that candidates will be required to demonstrate, skills, knowledge and understanding in the following areas:

  • knowledge of child development;
  • safeguarding;
  • health and safety
  • health and well-being;
  • communication;
  • support the planning of and deliver activities, purposeful play opportunities and educational programmes;
  • support children with special educational needs and disabilities;
  • own role and development;
  • working with others – parents, colleagues and other professionals.

The new Level 2 qualifications are expected to be available for delivery by September 2019.

In his foreword on the consultation document, children and families minister Robert Goodwill said, ‘The early years workforce is our sector’s biggest asset, and critical to ensuring that all children are given the best start in life. I am very pleased to be consulting on strengthening the criteria for new Level 2 qualifications for the early education and childcare workforce.

‘This provides a real opportunity for us to work with the sector to develop a high quality early years workforce to support our youngest children in their early development and learning. I am determined to reduce the development gap between disadvantaged children and their peers at age five. Having clearly defined criteria for Level 2 early years qualifications will help us to achieve this. It will also provide a progression route for those who wish to move on to a level 3 Early Years Educator qualification.

‘We have drawn on the expertise within the sector to develop the proposed criteria and I look forward to hearing your views.’

Michael Freeston, director of quality improvement at the Pre-school Learning Alliance, which was part of the consultation panel, said, 'This consultation represents an important step in improving the recruitment and retention of a high quality early years workforce.
'What we need is an entry level qualification which gets learners ready for further study by providing them with the practical experience of what quality childcare looks like and an academic understanding of why that is. Employers have often told us they feel the current level 2 qualification does not adequately prepare practitioners with the sound understanding on childhood development, how that impacts on both play and learning and where it sits within the EYFS.
'With its impact on quality, recruitment and retention, it’s hard to understate the importance of getting this qualification right, and so we hope that everyone with an interest in building a high quality early years workforce will respond to this consultation.'

Stella Ziolkowski, director of quality and workforce development at National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA) said, 'NDNA has been on the expert reference working group supporting the development of the Level 2 qualification.

'We want the Level 2 qualification to be the best it can be so practitioners are job ready when they exit training. We urge employers and practitioners to get involved with the consultation so Level 2's can really support children’s learning and development.'

  • To take part in the consultation click here
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