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Shaking the Foundations of Quality (Nutbrown) 18th March 2013

Shaking the Foundations of Quality (Nutbrown) 18th March 2013

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Published by Laura Henry
Professor Cathy Nutbrown's response to More Great Childcare.
Professor Cathy Nutbrown's response to More Great Childcare.

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Published by: Laura Henry on Mar 18, 2013
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03/24/2013

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ShakingtheFoundationsofQuality?©CathyNutbrownTheUniversityofSheffield,March2013
1
Shakingthefoundationsofquality?Why‘childcare’policymustnotleadtopoor-qualityearlyeducationandcare
CathyNutbrownMarch2013
Onthe19
th
ofJune2012followingarigorouspublicconsultation,Ipublishedmygovernment-commissionedreport
‘FoundationsforQuality’ 
,anindependentreviewofearlyeducationandchildcarequalificationsinEngland.Ibeganmyreportwiththestatementthat:‘
Learningbeginsfrombirth,andhighqualityearlyeducationandcarehasthepotentialtomakeanimportantandpositiveimpactonthelearning,developmentandwellbeingofbabiesandyoungchildren,intheirdailylivesandthelongerterm’.
Consciousofthecentury-longtraditioninEnglandofhighqualityearlyeducationthroughnurseryschools,Inotedthedevelopmentstoimprovequalityandincludeprovisionforveryyoungchildrenthathadoccurredinrecentdecades,andIsaidthat
everychildinhomeandgroupsettingstodaydeservestheverybestearlyeducationandcare’ 
.ItwasonthisprinciplethatIbasedmyReviewandmyfinalrecommendations.Ifitseemsobvious,itisstillnecessarytoreassertthatwhatmattersmostintheearlyyearsworkforceisthequalityoftheexperiencestheycanofferyoungchildren.Imadeclearmyviewthatearlyyearscarersandeducatorsareprofessionalswhothemselvesneedcontinuallytodeveloptheirownknowledge,skillsandunderstanding.Theyneedtobeconfidentintheirownworkwithchildrenandinengagingwithparentsand
professionals,suchashealthvisitorsandsocialworkers.IwroteareportthatIhopedwouldgivegoodadvicetoGovernmentabouttheimportanceofthepeoplewhomakeupthediverseearlyyearsworkforcehavingopportunitiestoprogressintheircareers,andtobecomeeffectivepedagogicalleaderswhounderstandthelearninganddevelopmentneedsofchildrenandcanenhanceandextendteachingandlearningopportunitieswhateverformtheprovisiontakes.InmyreportIsetoutandjustifiedrecommendationstoimprovethequalityofearlyeducationandcareforyoungchildrensothat:
 
everychildisabletoexperiencehigh-qualitycareandeducationwhatevertypeofhomeorgroupsettingtheyattend;
 
earlyyearsstaffhaveastrongprofessionalidentity,takeprideintheirwork,andarerecognisedandvaluedbyparents,otherprofessionalsandsocietyasawhole;
 
highqualityearlyeducationandcareisledbywell-qualifiedearlyyears practitioners;andtheimportanceofchildhoodisunderstood,respectedandvalued.
(
FoundationsforQuality 
2012:10)
 
ShakingtheFoundationsofQuality?©CathyNutbrownTheUniversityofSheffield,March2013
2
MyrecommendationswerewidelywelcomedbythesectorandIreceivedmanymessagesofsupportfromkeyagencies,organisations,andindividualsinvolvedinearlychildhoodeducationandcare.Therewereclearindicationsthatprovidersfromprivate,independent,voluntaryandstate-maintainedsectors,childmindersandparentswereinbroadagreementwithmyrecommendationsandwerelookingforwardtoapositiveresponsefromGovernment.IknewthatmyaspirationswereachievablebecauseIhadseenthemhappeninginsomanysettings.However,theydidnotalwayshappen,andchildrenspreschoolexperiencesvariedtoomuch.ThereforeImaderecommendationstoGovernmenttoensurethefollowing:
 
 Anincreaseinthenumberofqualifiedteacherswithspecialistearly yearsknowledgewholeadpracticeinsettingswho-workingdirectlywithbabies,youngchildren,andtheirparents,-demonstrablyusetheir pedagogicalexpertisetosupportyoungchildren’slearning,playanddevelopment.
 
TherecognitionofEarlyYearsteacherswholead,andaresupportedby,aneffectiveteamofearlyyearspractitioners,qualifiedataminimumofLevel3,withallstafftakingprofessionalprideintheirwork,andcontinuallyseekingtoextendanddeveloptheirknowledgeandskills.
 
Therequirementthatthosewhoareworkingtowardsearlyeducationandchildcarequalificationsshouldbetaughtandsupportedbyqualifiedandknowledgeabletutors,whoarethemselvesexperiencedintheearly years.Tutors,asmuchasthepractitionersinthesetting,musttakeprideintheirprofessionaldevelopment,andregularlyengageinpracticeinsettings,ensuringtheirskillsandpedagogyarecurrent.
 
Thatonlythosecandidateswhoareconfidentandcapableintheirliteracyandnumeracyareadmittedtotheselevel3courses;inparallel,Level3qualificationsmustberigorousandchallenging,requiringhighqualityexperiencesinplacements,givingstudentstimetoreflectonandimprovetheirownpractice.
 
Thedemonstrationofarigourofqualificationsuchthatemployerscanhaveconfidencethatthosewhoholdarecognisedqualificationhavethenecessarydepthandbreadthofknowledgeandexperiencetobeready forworkinthesetting.
 
Therequirementonemployerstosupportnewmembersofstaff,andtakethetimetoinductthemtothesettingandtheirrole,andensuretheyhavethisongoingsupportandmentoringinplaceforatleasttheirfirstsixmonths.
(
FoundationsforQuality 
2012:11)
Sowhy,on29
th
January2013,whenthedocument
‘MoreGreatChildcare’ 
waspublished,wasInotdelightedthattheGovernmentwasannouncingtheintroductionofEarlyYearsTeachers,enhancedentryrequirementstolevelthreequalificationsandastrongerlevelthreequalification?Why?Because,astheysay,‘thedevilisinthedetail’.AsIreadbeyondtheheadlinesofthegovernmentproposalsIrealisedthatmostofmy
 
ShakingtheFoundationsofQuality?©CathyNutbrownTheUniversityofSheffield,March2013
3recommendationshad,ineffect,beenrejected.TurningtotheAppendixofthe
‘MoreGreatChildcare’
document,thedisappointingresponseisonlytooclear.WhilstIfeltthatmyrecommendationstakentogether,wouldenhancequality,Iamnotatallconvincedthatacceptingjustfive,andtinkeringwithmanyothers,willachievetheoutcomesforchildrenandfortheirprofessionalpractitionersthatmanyhadhopedfor.Thetablebelowshowsthat,ofmy19recommendationsithasbeenproposedthat:5are‘Accepted’7are‘Acceptedinprinciple’3are‘Stillunderconsiderationandsubjecttoconsultation’1isnotedto‘Keepunderreview’2are‘Notaccepted’1isnotedas‘NoactionforGovernment’.
Table1NutbrownReviewrecommendationsandGovernmentResponse(fromappendixtoMoreGreatChildcare)
NutbrownReviewrecommendationin
FoundationsforQuality 
(2012)
Governmentresponseandrecommendedaction
MoreGreatChildcare
(2013)
Recommendation1
TheGovernmentshouldcontinuetospecifythequalificationsthataresuitableforstaffoperatingwithintheEYFS,andtheTeachingAgencyshoulddevelopamorerobustsetof‘fullandrelevant’criteriatoensurequalificationspromotetherightcontentandpedagogicalprocesses.Thesecriteriashouldbebasedontheproposalssetoutinthisreport.(FfQp29)Accepted.TeachingAgencywillconsultonrevisedsetof‘fullandrelevant’criteriaandproposalsfortheEarlyYearsEducator.(MGCp41)
Recommendation2
Allqualificationscommencedfrom1September2013mustdemonstratethattheymeetthenew‘fullandrelevant’criteriawhenbeingconsideredagainsttherequirementsoftheEYFS.(FfQp29)Acceptedinprinciple,buttimescalechangedtoSeptember2014.TheTeachingAgency’s‘fullandrelevant’consultationwillstatethatwewillensurethatnewEarlyYearsEducatorLevel3qualificationswillbeinplacefrom2014.(MGCp41)
Recommendation3
Thepreviouslyarticulatedplantomovetoasingleearlyyearsqualificationshouldbeabandoned.(FfQp29)Accepted.TheTeachingAgency’s‘fullandrelevant’consultationwillstatethisplanwillnothappen.(MGCp41)
Recommendation4
TheGovernmentshouldconsiderthebestwaytobadgequalificationsthatmeetthenew‘fullandrelevant’criteriasothatpeoplecanrecogniseunderwhatsetof‘fullandrelevant’criteriaaqualificationhasbeengained.(FfQp29)Accepted.The‘EarlyYearsEducator’titlewillofferarecognisedbadgeofqualityforqualificationswhichmeetthenew‘fullandrelevant’criteria.(MGCp41)

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