Government climbdown on childcare apprenticeship entry requirements

A training body that campaigned for the government to back down on the childcare apprenticeship entry requirements, is “pleased” new framework measures will be put in place.


The Association of Employment and Learning Providers’ (AELP), said today’s announcement by the Department of Education, will support people to improve their numeracy and literacy before joining the workforce.

CEO Stewart Segal said: “We are pleased that the government has listened to the strong lobby from childcare employers including the trailblazer group and AELP to review the English and maths requirements for the advanced Apprenticeship framework.  The government has now accepted that the achievement of GCSE English and maths grade A to C will be a requirement on exit rather than on entry.”

“AELP had provided evidence that this proposal was creating a real barrier to entry for many young people which had reduced the number of entrants to the sector when employers needed more recruits than ever, particularly in the light of the government’s plans to double the amount of free childcare for working parents.”

The organisation, which represents 750 training providers in England, agreed with the drive to improve standards but said that numeracy and literacy were essential skills childcare employees. 

He added: “GCSEs are broader than functional skills but include some elements that are not essential for those teaching young children.  Functional skills are very focussed on the practical skills and knowledge that will support young people.  We believe that there is now a lot of evidence that employers have confidence in functional skills and we will work with the trailblazer groups and the Education and Training Foundation to build that evidence base.”

This new move builds on from the recent Ofsted early years statistics, which revealed that settings offering the government’s free hours of childcare per week have never been rated better and the quality of staff has never been higher. As a result, 100,000 more pupils are on track to be reading more confidently compared to 2012.

Childcare Minister Sam Gyimah said: “All the evidence shows that the higher the quality of childcare, the higher the quality of a child’s learning and development. That’s why it’s imperative that childcare workers have crucial literacy and numeracy skills needed to give every child the best possible start in life.

“We’re totally committed to raising the bar and improving the care children receive in the early years so parents can have the strongest confidence in the people who are teaching our youngest children.”

Gyimah added that this news measures had been received positively by the childcare sector and who said this would encourage more apprentices to join the early years workforce.

“However, unnecessary barriers shouldn’t stop skilled people joining the workforce, and it makes much more sense to have an exit standard rather than a barrier to entry. That’s why I’m pleased to say that we will offer people the chance to study their maths and English GCSEs alongside their childcare apprenticeship training,” said Gyimah.


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