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GSCE required for Early Years Education. Why?

Following the Government's announcement of the entry requirements for the new Early Years Education qualifications, Maureen Emmett, Director of EM Skills, questions the impact these changes will have.

The announcement by the Department of Education (DfE) that in order to access the new Level Three  Early Years Education qualifications (EYE) learners need to have GCSE grade ‘C’ or above in maths and English, on entry, has caused an uproar in the sector, on two counts.

Firstly that Functional Skills will not be accepted as equivalent to GCSEs and secondly that the requirement will need to be completed before the training commences.

Stewart Segal, the chief executive of the Association of Employment and Learning providers (AELP), made his feelings on the announcement very clear. He said, “Our view is that is completely wrong.  It will exclude many people that have been failed by the system and we should set qualification requirements at the end (of training) not the beginning”.

Rob Wye, chief executive of CACHE added his disapproval. “While we recognise the importance of maths and English as a key part of developing a professional workforce for early years, we are concerned that making it a pre-requisite to starting training, rather than to starting employment at the end of the course, will dissuade very many excellent vocational learners among young people and adults from coming forward for the EYE”.

Clearly the DfE have missed the point. Their response that “These reforms will raise the overall quality of literacy and numeracy skills of those entering the workforce” demonstrates a lack of understanding of how useful Functional Skills qualifications are for those embarking on a vocational career. The Functional Skills standards are robust and reflect the content of a GCSE. But they assess learners in a different way. Writing a letter, composing a formal email, being about to understand budgets don’t feature in the GCSE examinations, but they do in functional skills. Moreover they are available on demand, on paper and onscreen so that learners can access them when ready, rather than waiting a whole year to take an examination.

How can undertaking Functional Skills qualifications fail to raise the overall quality of literacy and numeracy skills of those entering the workforce?


Maureen Emmett

Director EM Skills

Apr 15, 2014 02:18 PM