DfE scraps School Direct route to EYTS

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The Government has scrapped the School Direct route to Early Years Teacher Status because it isn’t popular enough, Nursery World has learned.

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Bright Horizons and UCL Institute of Education have offered training via the School Direct route since 2016, but the course will no longer run

Nursery group Bright Horizons and the prestigious UCL Institute of Education offered training via this route since 2016, but this course won't run from this autumn.

The Department of Education, which has not formally announced the move, told Nursery World the decision was taken following ‘an internal policy review’ of all the early years initial teacher training (EYITT) routes. It has not published this review, which was announced in the workforce strategy.

A spokesman said, ‘We closed the School Direct EYITT route as the pilot did not attract sufficient interest from potential applicants.’

School Direct is designed by providers or schools in partnership with a university or college based on the skills they are looking for in a new graduate.

Four routes to EYTS remain in place via 33 accredited providers, all of which come with substantial Government funding. These include graduate entry for new entrants to the sector, and graduate employment-based for those already in work.

The embattled EYT programme has missed its overall target for recruitment for several years running. Just 595 candidates were recruited this year.

Dr Eleanor Kitto, EYITT Programme Leader, Department of Learning and Leadership, UCL Institute of Education said they university still offers the employment based route to a PGCE with EYTS, as well as the DfE funded full-time EYITT route to a PGCE with EYTS. ‘Specialist graduates with EYTS have an enormous positive impact on the EYFS sector’, she added.
Bright Horizons declined to comment.

The collaboration follows the termination of Bright Horizons pilot course with Kingston University, also due to a lack of uptake.

Around 20 lecturers wrote to MPs citing their fears about the future of early years teacher status, which pays on average half the hourly rate than qualified teacher status.

  • See 'Workforce Strategy, part 11: final roundup', in Nursery World, 11 June, out on Monday
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