If the Government really wants to show that it is serious about the importance of early years to children’s life chances, then it should not continue its current course of seemingly blase inaction over Early Years Teacher Status.
The Education Select Committee has just launched an inquiry into the effects of early years and social policy on children’s future success, yet the proven benefits of a graduate-led workforce are being ignored as the numbers of EYITT courses and recruits dwindle alarmingly.
As our news story reveals, there are huge concerns that the promises made about boosting graduate employment and prospects in the Workforce Strategy are being left to languish.
There has been no consultation on allowing EYPs and EYTs to lead nursery and Reception classes in maintained schools (admittedly a controversial proposal).
There has been no review yet of the EYITT routes, due to take place in 2017.
There has been no feasibility study (due by March 2018) into growing the graduate workforce in disadvantaged areas, or at least nothing has been published.
There has been no indication how strengthening QTS could help raise the status and parity of EYTs – indeed the response to the QTS consultation just published makes no mention of EYTs at all.
Perhaps it all just feels too difficult, too costly, too complicated to balance the interests of the school and PVI sectors. But EYTS has expanded minds and skills (though not pay packets!) and been worked for incredibly hard. Graduates can make a tangible difference to young children, and we have something valuable that must be built on, not squandered.
Meanwhile, if you are an EYT or know a great one, put in an entry for our EYT of the Year in the Nursery World Awards 2018 at www.nurseryworldawards.com.