NDNA delighted at Minister’s announcement on return of functional skills option for childcare students 


The Minister’s long-awaited decision to broaden nursery practitioners’ stringent qualifications requirements will help ease the sector’s recruitment crisis, says National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA).

Early Years Minister Caroline Dinenage made the announcement today at Childcare Expo in Kensington as part of wider plans to implement a sector Workforce Strategy and amend the Early Years Foundation Stage.

She promised to include functional skills alongside GCSE grade C or above in maths and English as requirements for the level three Early Years Educator qualification.

NDNA also warmly welcomes new moves to define career pathways in partnership with the sector and a revision of the current level two qualification – but warns that fresh opportunities for early years teachers in schools could be a negative development without support for the daycare sector to match schools’ pay and conditions.

Purnima Tanuku OBE, Chief Executive of NDNA said: “We are delighted and very relieved to hear that the Minister and the Department for Education have listened to the sector’s very real fears and are doing something about it.

“This change will allow the sector choice. For those wanting to progress further to early years teacher status, they will still need grade Cs in GCSE maths, English and science to be accepted onto a programme of study.

“For others who aim for level three qualifications with functional skills, they will now be able to demonstrate their knowledge of supporting young children in their literacy and numeracy skills and understanding through a more appropriate work-based route.

“We have been campaigning for the choice of GCSEs or functional skills since 2013 and are pleased that this new measure will soon be put in place to enable the sector to move forward.”

On the Workforce Strategy, Ms Tanuku said: “This has been in the pipeline for many months and we are really pleased that we will begin to see it implemented. We look forward to working with the Department for Education and the sector in developing better career pathways.

“A review of level two requirements and the introduction of local grants for language and SEND support is very good news but new opportunities for early years teachers in schools could lead to them leaving the day care sector.”