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Early Years Professional Status: an Initiative in Search of a Strategy

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Presentation on theme: "Early Years Professional Status: an Initiative in Search of a Strategy"— Presentation transcript:

1 Early Years Professional Status: an Initiative in Search of a Strategy
Professor Denise Hevey, University of Northampton 17th EECERA Annual Conference, Prague, August 2007

2 Historical Context of ECEC in the UK
Low investment 8th out of 12 developed countries with 0.4%GDP (OECD 2006); Separatist tradition Part-time nursery education entitlement for 3-4 year olds. Compulsory schooling from 5 Mixed economy and variable quality Private, voluntary and independent (PVI) sector main provider

3 Current Policy Childcare as part of anti-poverty strategy
Sure Start Unit 1997; 10 yr strategy for childcare (HMT 2004) Workforce Reform/ upskilling Children’s Workforce Development Council 2005; initial strategy published 2006 Integrated education & care services Chidcare Act 2006: new Early Years Foundation Stage from birth to 5 statutory from 2008

4 Children’s Centres as Flagships for integrated Services
On Site Services Off Site Services Childminder Network Homestart Portage Sitter Services Health Visitors Sure Start Outreach Home-Carers Network

5 Developing the workforce
Integrated services require flexible, well-qualified staff:- influence of EPPE (Sylva et al. 2003) Graduate level curriculum leadership Multi-disciplinary teams A ‘Common Core’ of skills and knowledge National and local workforce development strategies

6 Early Years Professional Status (EYPS)
Graduate multi-disciplinary ‘curriculum’ leadership for 0-5 settings Main purpose: change agent – raising standards ‘ lead practice in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), support and mentor other practitioners and model the skills and behaviours that safeguard and promote good outcomes for children’ (CWDC, 2007 p.4) Targets: an EYP in every children’s centre by 2010 and every full day-care setting by 2015

7 Qualifications framework for Early Years
Level Qualification Role 7 NPQICL Children’s Centre Manager 6 EYPS BA Hons e.g. Early Childhood Studies Curriculum leader across EYFS 5 Foundation Degree in EY Senior EY Practitioner 4 OU Certificate in EY Practice 3 NVQ3; Nursery Nursing Diploma CACHE/Edexcel Qualified Early Years Practitioner

8 EYPS: Outcomes of Regional Pilot
East Midlands pilot of EYPS national standards and validation methodology Based on 48 candidates - broadly successful but: Assessment flawed Overly bureaucratic, little effective professional dialogue, no direct observation with children. Levels and Expectations Little evidence of depth of underpinning knowledge; threshold capability at leadership - beyond NQT. (Hevey, Lumsden and Moxon 2007)

9 EYPS: National Evaluation
Evaluation of pilot by Henley Management College failed to identify significant issues Visited 4 out of 11 providers; telephone interviews with 23 candidates Judged validation process to be fit for purpose ‘Overall this is an excellent design, offering candidates a range of opportunities to show their skills and abilities and providing a fair and appropriate assessment model’. (Williams, 2007 p.3)

10 Implementation of EYPS
35 Approved Training Providers nationally 4 ‘pathways’ to achieving EYPS All pathways fully funded by CWDC plus cover costs or bursary Centrally devised prospectus, national standards and guidance, candidate handbook Transformation Fund incentives

11 Alternative Routes to EYP status
Validation (assessment only) pathway (3 months) For ECS graduates who can meet all the standards Candidates from all pathways must complete validation 2. EPD Short (3 months p/t plus validation) For other graduates with relevant experience. 3. EPD Long (12 months p/t plus validation) For Foundation Degree holders 4. Full training pathway (12 months full-time) For graduates with non-relevant degrees wishing to move into work with young children

12 Transformation Fund - £125m
Incentives for private, voluntary and independent sector Recruitment incentive of £3,000 per annum to employ graduate Quality premium of £5,000 per annum to support wider staff development Home Grown graduate scheme Graduates to achieve EYPS within two years

13 What is going wrong? Where is the Strategy?
Disappointing recruitment to EYPS training Lack of clarity in relationship between EYPS and EY Foundation Stage Ineffectiveness of incentives (carrots) and regulatory requirements (sticks) A growing pool of resentment Where is the Strategy?

14 Recruitment Issues EYPS recruitment falling well short of targets
e.g. only 35% on Full-time Training Pathway for Sept. ‘07 (CWDC provider briefing Birmingham, July 07) >93% of Early Years workers do NOT meet EYPS eligibility requirements Absence of substantive national media campaign Restrictions exclude maintained schools - despite extended schools/ children’s centre policy. Failure to address low pay and terms and conditions of service

15 Relationship with EY Foundation Stage
Promise of a single integrated 0-5 framework across all settings undermined Lack of ‘read across’ between EYFS curriculum documents and EYPS standards (ECF 2007) Only qualified teachers (QTS) can lead practice in maintained schools (but not qualified in part of new curriculum) EYPS restricted to PVI sector (ghettoized in low pay area) Undermines principle of transferability of staff across Children’s Workforce

16 Problems with QTS UK teacher training focuses on education and not on an holistic, multidisciplinary approach to the whole child ‘…the current training of early childhood teachers is no longer well suited to the multi-agency role of children’s centres, nor does it encompass the development and learning needs of children under three.’ (Pugh, 2006, p.17)

17 Incentives and regulation
Transformation fund incentivises EYPS in PVI sector while preventing fee increases (anti-poverty strategy) but take up is low (DCSF 2007) Complexity of administration. Sustainability of graduate employment when supply-side subsidy is short term. Demand-side subsidy through Tax Credits is not working Regulatory requirements to include EYPS in all day care settings by 2015 but sector not convinced Ofsted will implement

18 A Growing Pool of Resentment
Failure to recognise the ‘grandmother principle’ when creating a new profession As yet, no fast-track alternative routes for those with experience but few academic qualifications Older, experienced staff feel undervalued – thrown on scrap heap Young graduates with little or no experience being brought in to fill, senior better paid curriculum leadership roles Resentment can spill over on to EYPS students on placements

19 Importance of EYPS as an initiative
For government Effective implementation of new EY Foundation Stage and raised standards across whole sector For settings Better qualified staff and level playing field across maintained and PVI settings (1:13 ratio vs 1:8) For individual practitioners Status and recognition – likely to lead to professional registration in future For children Best practice in play, care and learning experiences - particularly for the youngest children.

20 An Initiative in Search of a Strategy
Create a statutory, integrated ‘educare’ curriculum framework within which the EYP role is embedded Create a regulatory framework that applies equally to all settings offering the EYFS Establish a pay and conditions framework for the new multi-disciplinary professional role Challenge professional protectionism from pre-existing separate professions and develop top-up/ conversion courses in both directions

21 An Initiative in Search of a Strategy
Establish common agreement on relevant academic and professional eligibility criteria Develop a rigorous validation process that is fit-for-purpose and has credibility in the field Provide alternative routes to EYPS for the ‘grandmothers’ of the profession Raise public awareness within and outside the sector with a major national media campaign

22 Conclusion Over-arching concern that a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ opportunity for a new multi-disciplinary Early Years profession will be lost The best new graduates will still go into teaching Experienced practitioners will become alienated EYPs will become ghettoized in low paid jobs with few career prospects EYPS will never achieve equivalence in status with other professions All aspects of the eight point strategy need to be addressed if EYPS is to be a success

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