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LETTER OF THE WEEK

EYPS AND EXPERIENCE

In response to Rebekah Clee's letter (8 July) regarding the employment of EYPs in settings, as an EYP I too am able to discuss the benefits of achieving EYPS. I have felt professionally empowered and have noticed a positive impact on my practice.

I feel that my setting has benefited since I achieved EYPS and I have developed the confidence to take on more leadership and management responsibilities. But this is not all due to achieving 'the status'. Surely the fact that I have worked hard for five years in different settings, with different teams under different managers, and learned from all of these experiences contributes something?

For me, currently working as a manager, experience is the word that people seem to be forgetting. I recently advertised for a room leader, minimum Level 3, experience essential. The number of newly qualified EYPs who wanted the job was, quite frankly, shocking. People who had completed the one-year course and had all the knowledge at their fingertips, yet had no experience or clue about the day-to-day work involved at a nursery. One girl had never worked in a nursery apart from her placements while studying and was unwilling to accept a position less than room leader, even saying she would like to apply for our deputy role.

The problem is that they had been armed with all this knowledge and sent out into the world to conquer the childcare profession thinking that, as Rebekah put it in her letter, 'the title speaks for itself'.

In our rush to professionalise the workforce we have forgotten that experience is one of the fundamental parts of what turns a practitioner into a great childcare practitioner. We need to slow down a bit and appreciate what we do have - build on our experiences, engage in CPD and support staff who have been doing their job well for years. The real professionals.

Stefanie Walbyoff, Bristol

Letter of the week wins £30 worth of books


TOP-UP FEES OR ELSE

Megan Pacey's letter (8 July) does not reflect well on Early Education, which claims on its website to be 'the leading national voluntary organisation for early years'. She certainly does not support the concerns of the many private and voluntary providers who belong to Early Education.

Ms Pacey states that to allow providers to start charging additional fees above the state funding takes away free entitlement, but she ignores the state subsidy which taxpayers provide for maintained nursery schools and classes and reception classes - an additional fee charge, albeit one which is less apparent than the up-front charges made in the private sector. To follow her logic, all state provision should demonstrate 'improved transparency and accountability where the public purse is concerned'. If that was done, and despite the favourable staff-child ratios the state enjoys, the high cost of maintained provision relative to the PVI sector would be exposed.

In evidence to the Select Committee for Children, Schools and Families, Jean Ensing, chair of governors at Bognor Regis Nursery School and Children's Centre, stated that the school would lose 52 per cent of its funding if the single funding formula went ahead. Current evidence suggests the state sector will be cushioned from the immediate effects of the formula as local authorities seek to provide support over several years to enable maintained nurseries to scale down to the levels of the state funding.

The Government remains committed to a graduate workforce. Yet the funding does not enable graduate-level salaries to be paid in the private sector, and the Select Committee noted that the PVI losers would be 'chiefly those with highly qualified staff'.

There are three alternatives for private providers: to close, to opt out of the funding scheme and rely on parents to pay full cost fees, or to run at a loss. The state sector can operate at a loss, reliant on its subsidy from the taxpayer. Private providers cannot do so.

If Ms Pacey has her way, the losers, will be parents and children who would benefit from high quality PVI provision with a well trained and qualified workforce. Her failure to reflect on the position of the maintained sector does not bode well.

Martin Bradley, chair, Montessori Schools Association.


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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