ECSDN Statement: Update to DfE Website re Early Years Qualifications

The Early Childhood Studies Degrees Network (ECSDN) are delighted that the DfE have updated their website, GOV.UK/Check early years qualifications, including the Early Childhood Graduate Practitioner Competencies as a recognised qualification. Graduates that have demonstrated practice, skills and knowledge at Level 6 can now be aligned to other qualifications in the sector.

It has historically been recognised that graduates with a degree in Early Childhood possess a significant amount of knowledge and theoretical grounding. However, in recent years, there has been a call from some of the sector to enhance this qualification, and to equip graduates with the practice skills required at Level 6 alongside the depth of academic knowledge they possess.

The ECSDN quickly responded to this need and, through the collaboration of the network, were able to pilot and implement the Graduate Practitioner Competencies for national roll out. At present 28 universities have included the competencies in their suite of programmes. Alongside their rigorous degree programmes, students may compile a portfolio of evidence and show their “competence” in a range of skills. There are nine competencies (with various components), being:

  • Advocating for young children’s rights and participation
  • Promote holistic child development
  • Work directly with young children, families and colleagues to promote health, well-being, safety and nurturing care
  • Observe, listen and plan for young children to support their well-being, early learning, progression and transitions
  • Safeguarding and child protection
  • Inclusive practice
  • Partnership with parents and caregivers
  • Collaborating with others
  • Professional development

In order to develop skills within these areas and to compile evidence students are required to attend a minimum of 80 days placement throughout their course. This practice-based element provides students with a real grounding in Early Childhood practice and enables them to join up what they have learnt in lectures with what is happening in the real world. This “skilful application of knowledge to practice and practice to knowledge” is the fundamental aim of the Graduate Practitioner Competencies; with the ultimate goal to raise the professionalism and profile of graduates entering the Early Childhood workforce.

The fact that the DfE recognise this qualification is a triumph therefore – not only for the ECSDN and the students engaged in Early Childhood degrees but ultimately for the workforce in general. It is the hope that this is one step to gaining the professional recognition that this sector deserves.

Dr Tanya Richardson PhD, MA (Ed.), BA (Hons.), EYPS, FHEA
ECSDN Treasurer and Membership Secretary

Programme Leader for Early Childhood Studies
Senior Lecturer in Early Years
Faculty of Health, Education and Society
University of Northampton

You can download a PDF copy of this ECSDN Statement from the button below