Editor's View - Tricky dilemma for DfE

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It seems a long time since the Nutbrown Review of early years qualifications appeared - 19 June to be precise.


Had there not been a reshuffle, we would have expected a response from the Government to Professor Nutbrown's proposals around now. However, as we have several new faces at the Department for Education, most notably Elizabeth Truss as education and childcare minister, it is not surprising that nothing has been forthcoming.

The Nutbrown Review is a very comprehensive piece of work, and contains some quite radical proposals. The situation with early years education and childcare qualifications has long been complex and confusing, even to those with many years in the sector.

It's very demanding to get to grips with for those new to this area.

A further complication is the Childcare Commission, which was set up with the aim of examining how childcare can be made more affordable, and how regulation can be reduced. That will also require a response to the consultation.

This may well be pulling in the opposite direction from the Nutbrown Review. Cathy Nutbrown's vision would not be cheap to enact and would do nothing to lessen the cost of childcare, as better qualified staff are more expensive. It would add to the regulations about levels of staff qualification. It would also, of course, be likely to drive quality of provision up.

How will the DfE reconcile its responses to these two initiatives, and what action will it take in the aftermath? Tricky!

For anyone who wants to place a bet on the timing, it's amazing how often government makes this sort of announcement just before holiday times - so the week before Christmas could be worth a few bob!

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