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As many Nursery World readers are aware, the Government intends to replace all existing Level 3 childcare qualifications with the new Level 3 Diploma for the Children and Young People's Workforce from September 2010. The Children's Workforce Development Council has responsibility for developing the Diploma, leaving the awarding bodies to design appropriate assessment methods.

Many young people use the Level 3 Diploma in Child Care and Education as a route into university or employment, and the round of interviews for the next academic year is well under way. Yet colleges have received little to inform young people making important decisions about their career paths.

As the months progress, it seems that the various awarding bodies are struggling to make sense of the requirements too.

In the drive to create a single Level 3 qualification, a one-size-fits-all mentality seems to be dominating. The qualification requirements are identical regardless of whether the chosen study route is work-based or academic.

For the first time in over 40 years, those choosing a post-16 academic Level 3 route into childcare will not be required to study for the traditional two years. The new Diploma will not equate to three vocational A levels, and so it will not be a route into university.

The CWDC recognises that additional qualifications will be required to progress to higher education and suggest A levels, additional work placements and Qualifications and Credit Framework units at levels 4 and 5!

September 2010 looks bleak for colleges used to large numbers of students wishing to take childcare as a vocational A level route. It also looks bleak for the industry when numbers of college leavers with a Level 3 childcare Diploma begin to dwindle, as they surely will.

- Denise Salter, programme manager for Early Years FE and HE, Hampshire

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We, as members of the OpenEYE campaign, wish to introduce tempered realism to recent uncritical statements regarding the alleged successes of the EYFS (In My View, 15 October).

While acknowledging the positive aspects of the EYFS, for example, the umbrella principles and the necessary welfare requirements, we continue to view the learning and development requirements as over-prescriptive, and certain goals to be developmentally inappropriate.

With the conflicting recommendations of the Rose and Cambridge primary reviews, and the Government's dismissal of the latter, it appears that pre-decided politicised agendas are taking precedence over rational argument and evidence.

Over the past two years, Open EYE has advocated extending a genuinely play-based EYFS to the sixth year, a view expressed by both the Cambridge Review and by professor of education at Sheffield university, Greg Brooks (News, 19 November).

Practitioners' 'commitment' to the EYFS needs to be viewed within the coercive context of the legal compulsion to 'deliver'. OpenEYE believes that centralised control of education in the early years threatens innovation ('Free ways', 3 September) and represents undue interference in the pre-compulsory school domain.

Despite some 8,000 signatures on OpenEYE's 2008 Downing Street website petition, the Government's own early years advisers arguing that certain learning goals are inadvisable, there has been no effective Government response.

There is a grave danger that a compliant workforce will uncritically accept the inappropriate aspects of EYFS, and that they are already becoming 'normalised'.

We have no wish to see the EYFS dismantled in its entirety, but we will continue to call for the downgrading of the legal status of the EYFS learning and development requirements to guidelines only, and for a truly independent review at root-and-branch level.

Margaret Edgington, early years consultant, Dr Richard House, senior lecturer at Roehampton University, Lynne Oldfield, director of the London Steiner Early Childhood Teacher Training (co-founders of OpenEYE).

Send your letters to ... The Editor, Nursery World, 174 Hammersmith Road, London W6 7JP, letter.nw@haymarket.com, 020 8267 8401.

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