Early Education and Child Care
Sarah Teather (Minister of State (Children and Families), Education; Brent Central, Liberal Democrat)
I am pleased to announce that Professor Cathy Nutbrown is today publishing the findings of her independent review of training qualifications and careers opportunities for people working in early education and childcare. Copies of her report, “Foundations for Quality: Review of Early Education and Childcare Qualifications” will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.
The importance of the early years—as a foundation for life and for future attainment and success—cannot be overestimated. Children’s personal, social, emotional, language and physical development are of paramount importance, and without strong foundations in these areas, children will struggle as they develop in life, with friends, and in school. That is why the Government have taken action to extend access to free, high-quality early education, and to reform and simplify the early years foundation stage.
It is essential that people working in the early years have the right skills and training to give children the best start in life. One of the most important factors affecting a child’s healthy development is the quality of
the education and childcare they receive in the earliest years. That is why, in July last year, I set out my intention to commission a review of existing early years qualifications and training. I asked Professor Cathy Nutbrown of Sheffield university to undertake an independent review, to consider how best to strengthen qualifications and career pathways, focusing on the qualities needed to ensure that young children receive the best quality pre-school education.
I asked Professor Nutbrown to consider four main areas:
The content of early years training courses testing their strength and quality;
How to build on the work to date to develop qualifications to meet the needs of all learners, including young people undertaking full-time college courses and those who currently work in the profession;
How to ensure that entry qualifications are of a high standard and meet the needs of employers, and offer sufficient scope for progression within the sector;
Options for helping new qualifications acquire the equivalent status and currency of the nursery nurse education board (NNEB) qualification.
Professor Nutbrown is making recommendations in all these areas, and her report makes a strong case for further progress in improving quality and professionalism in the early years workforce.
I am hugely grateful to Professor Nutbrown for conducting this important review and to those who have supported her. I warmly welcome Professor Nutbrown’s thoughtful and thorough report, which takes a balanced look at the needs of the sector. The early years are immensely important and this report will be invaluable in helping the Government consider the best way to encourage talented people to work in the sector and improve outcomes for babies and young children in this important stage of their lives. We will read her report with care, and respond in due course as part of our continuing commitment to ensuring that childcare remains high quality and affordable to parents.