GCSE U-turn made by childcare apprenticeship officials

Apprentices will be able to study for their English and maths GCSEs as they begin their Early Years Educator (EYE) course, after the government overturned its own ruling on GCSE requirements.

The Early Years education course is a government initiative set up in September 2014, giving apprentices the chance to pursue a career in childcare services.

The government has recently come under fire from childcare trainers and the apprenticeship trailblazer group, after the government imposed an August 1st deadline for all apprentices to achieve a C grade in their maths and English GCSEs before starting the course.

After a reported 96 per cent drop in those taking up a childcare apprenticeship, government officials have decided to make a U-turn on their decision.

Childcare minister Sam Gymiah praised the reversal, stating that childcare practitioners will be educated to a high standard while starting the course.

‘‘We’re totally committed to raising the bar and improving the care children receive in the early years so parents can have the strongest confidence in the people who are teaching our youngest children.’’

‘‘However, unnecessary barriers shouldn’t stop skilled people joining the workforce, and it makes much more sense to have an exit standard rather than a barrier to entry. That’s why I’m pleased to say that we will offer people the chance to study their maths and English GCSEs alongside their childcare apprenticeship training,’’ continued Gymiah.

Right now this rule change only applies to those who are taking the EYE course while serving an apprenticeship. Those who aren’t undergoing an apprenticeship will need to have taken their GCSEs beforehand, a rule that some experts fear may cause an imbalance in the apprenticeship sector.

‘‘The fact that this decision only currently applies to EYE qualifications undertaken as part of an apprenticeship risks creating an unbalanced position where practitioners wanting to undertake an EYE as a standalone course will still be required to have GCSEs on entry,’’ stated Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Pre-school Learning Alliance.

‘‘In the interests of fairness and consistency, we would urge the government to reconsider its position on this issue.’’