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Professor Cathy Nutbrown’s review of early years and childcare qualfications in 2012 found 445 available, of which 223 were deemed full and relevant.


Liz Roberts

Her recommendation that this bewildering and confusing number of qualifications should be tackled led to the introduction in 2014 of the Early Years Educator as the only Level 3 course taken from that point that was full and relevant and gave a licence to practice.

At the time, we also reported on the plethora of online childcare courses that were being completed by students under the impression that they would be fully qualified at Level 3, with some consequently unable to get jobs or losing employment when the status of the course became clear to their employer.

In this issue, we report that confusion over online Level 3 courses is still causing problems. The information given by the course providers these days is certainly much clearer and they are not breaking the advertising rules – some state that students do not get ‘a licence to practice’.

However, it seems that significant numbers of young and inexperienced aspiring childcarers are taking these courses, perhaps attracted by the lack of any requirement to have experience or the GCSEs/Functional Skills needed for a full Level 3, and do not understand the complex EYFS regulations on staff qualfications or know the questions to ask.

You can, of course, work in a nursery as an unqualified practitioner, but settings are crying out for Level 3 fully qualified staff. It seems that the system still needs revision – there is no professional body or easily available, simply understood information about the best route to a childcare career.

Another one for the Workforce Strategy!

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