Indications that the early years workforce strategy will be yet further delayed until the end of February will add to the stress on nurseries and colleges finding it nearly impossible to recruit Level 3s or those wanting to take the Early Years Educator qualification. The prospect of a solution to the crisis caused by the requirement for A-C GCSEs in maths and English is stretching ever further into the distance.
And news that England is likely to take part in PISA-style tests for five-year-olds raises fears that there will be yet more pressure on the early years curriculum to narrow its focus.
I find it very sad, too, that government policy appears to be re-opening divisions in the sector. Years ago, state provision and private provision were very different entities whose paths rarely seemed to cross. A range of initiatives and circumstances created much more sector cohesion and co-operation.
But now the implementation of the 30-hour programme particularly, with its funding problems, seems to be setting providers against each other. Nursery/ primary schools and PVI settings both, understandably, feel under threat and that the other is being treated preferentially. Both are increasingly criticising each other’s practice and provision.
We need all parts of the sector to work together and learn from each other more than ever, as is happening in a few places. We’ll continue to write about and support the whole early years community, with the focus on best practice for young children.