Delay continues over Level 3 standard while new apprenticeship group is set up

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A new trailblazer group has been set up to continue working on the early years apprenticeship standards, Nursery World has learned.


New degree level apprenticeships are on the way

The group is the third to take on the work following the recent resignation of a group led by Busy Bees, which was working on the Level 3 apprenticeship standard.

Proposed standards for a Level 5 Early Years Senior Practitioner and a Level 6 Early Years Lead Practitioner, a degree level apprenticeship, have been submitted by the new group, which is chaired by Laura Upton, Workforce Improvement Advisor at Leicestershire County Council.

It is understood that Fay Gibbin, CEO of Busy Bees Training Academy, is continuing to oversee delivery of the Level 3 standard, which is still ‘in discussion’ and not yet live, according to a spokesman for the Institute for Apprenticeships.

In September, Nursery World revealed how Ms Gibbin, who chaired the group, resigned saying the IfA had not listened sufficiently to the sector. She said, ‘We are stepping down because we truly believe it should be an employer-led process and unfortunately this has not been the case.’

Three months on and the Level 3 standard is still not ready for delivery, despite the final stage of the process, the assessment plan, being submitted on 26 September after several previous versions had been rejected.

New trailblazer group

The new group, which has had two meetings so far, has 25 entirely new members, including chain Kids Planet, several universities and council representatives, and the Early Childhood Studies Degrees Network, which has devised a set of graduate competencies for its degrees which it wants to integrate into the new apprenticeship standard.

The group is comprised of:

  • Best Start Nurseries@St Marys Montessori
  • Birmingham Metropolitan College
  • Caterpillar Day Nursery
  • Charnwood Nursery and Pre-School
  • Derby City Council
  • Early Childhood Studies Degrees Network
  • Handkerchief Day Nursery & Grosvenor House Day Nursery And Pre-School
  • Inspired Children
  • Kids Planet Day Nurseries
  • Leicestershire County Council
  • Lilliput Montessori Day Nursery(s)
  • Lime Tree Day Nursery
  • Little Explorers Playgroup
  • Loughborough College
  • Loughborough Nursery
  • Market Harborough Montessori Nursery
  • Nursery owner of four early years provisions in Nottinghamshire
  • Our Monkey Club
  • School's Out Rothley C of E Primary School
  • Showcase Training
  • Stephenson College
  • The Old Vicarage School, Darley Abbey, Derbyshire
  • University of Derby
  • University of Northampton
  • Vision West Nottinghamshire College

The previous trailblazer group, which was chaired by Busy Bees, also included Bright Horizons, a group of small settings, and the National Day Nurseries Association in an advisory capacity, while the first trailblazer group was set up in 2014 and included the Pre-school Learning Alliance, NDNA, Busy Bees, Bright Horizons, Tops Day Nurseries, Bertram Nursery Group, and Kids Allowed.

The group, whose tenure coincided with a Government requirement barring functional skills for apprentices, was sacked in 2017 after this dispute caused deadlock on the Level 3 standard’s progress.

Keep an eye on the early years standards here:

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