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Strengthening level 2 qualifications for the early education and childcare workforce

Government consultation response for the level 2 early years criteria

1. On 3 March 2017, the Department for Education (DfE) published the early years workforce strategy that included our intention to work with the sector and awarding organisations to develop criteria for the content of level 2 childcare qualifications.

2. The criteria will set the minimum requirements for knowledge, understanding and skills that individuals must demonstrate to achieve a level 2 early years qualification. They will be used by awarding organisations to develop new qualifications for delivery from September 2019. The criteria will enable early years workers and employers to recognise suitable level 2 training and qualifications more easily.

3. High quality early education and childcare can have a powerful impact on young children. The evidence is clear that a good start in the early years can have a positive effect on children’s development, preparing them for school and later life.

4. Following the introduction of early years teachers (graduate/level 6) and early years educators (level 3) in 2013 and 2014, the development of criteria for level 2 qualifications will support early years providers to ensure that those they employ to work with babies and young children are equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to keep children safe and support their development. The resulting qualifications will also support staff development and progression to level 3 and beyond.

5. The statutory framework for the early years foundation stage (EYFS) sets out the requirements for staff: child ratios in early years settings and for childminders delivering the early years foundation stage, and the qualification levels practitioners must hold. It is the role of the DfE to define the level 2, ‘full and relevant’, qualifications that practitioners must hold to be included in the EYFS staff: child ratios. We do this by setting the criteria that underpin qualifications developed by awarding organisations.

6. The DfE held a 12 week online consultation to seek views on the proposed level 2 early years criteria and their suitability for qualifications in early education and childcare. The consultation closed on 28 February 2018 and received one hundred and sixty four responses.