Early Years Update looks at the opportunities available for practitioners to gain Early Years Professional Status

By 2015 it is the government’s intention that every full daycare setting in England will be led by a graduate, with two graduates per setting in the most disadvantaged areas of the country. To achieve this ambitious aim funding is currently available for suitably qualified early years practitioners to achieve Early Years Professional Status (EYPS) through a range of work based routes. The role of the EYP, of whom there are now over 1,000 across the country, will be to lead and improve practice, act as a catalyst for change, transform the quality of provision and improve outcomes for children.

What does Early Years Professional Status cover? As Early Years Professionals will be expected to take on a leadership role in their settings, the qualification is designed to promote both personal knowledge and leadership skills. To attain EYPS all practitioners are assessed against 39 National Standards covering six areas of professional expertise:

Knowledge and understanding

These standards look at how practitioners can lead and support others to understand the principles and content of the EYFS and children’s learning, development and emotional wellbeing. They also cover the statutory and legal frameworks within which children’s services operate.

Effective practice

These cover how practitioners can lead and help others to have high expectations of children’s achievement, establish appropriate environments and routines and use observation to monitor children’s progress and plan for their progression. They also cover selecting resources, making personalised provision, supporting the development of children’s language and communication skills, and engaging in sustained shared thinking with children. Other aspects of effective practice include promoting positive behaviour, children’s rights, equality, inclusion and anti-discriminatory practice, assessing, recording and reporting on children’s development and learning and giving constructive and sensitive feedback to help children understand what they have achieved and think about what they need to do next.

Relationships with children
These standards look at how practitioners can lead and help others to have high expectations of all children, establish respectful relationships, communicate sensitively and effectively, listen to children, value and respect their views, and demonstrate the positive values, attitudes and behaviour they expect from children.

Communicating and working in partnership with families and carers

These cover the ways in which practitioners can lead and help others to recognise and respect the contribution that families and parents/carers can make to children’s development, wellbeing and learning and establish fair, respectful, trusting and constructive relationships with families and parents/carers.

Teamwork and collaboration

These standards cover establishing and sustaining a culture of collaborative and cooperative working between colleagues, influencing and shaping the policies and practices of the setting sharing in collective responsibility for their implementation and contributing to the work of a multi-professional team.

Professional development

These standards cover developing skills in literacy, numeracy and information and communication technology, reflecting on and evaluating the impact of practice, taking responsibility for identifying and meeting professional development needs, taking a creative and constructively critical approach towards innovation.

Who is EYPS for? Work-based training pathways are open to individuals working:

  • in private, voluntary or independent full daycare settings
  • in designated children’s centres
  • in maintained full daycare settings
  • in private, voluntary or independent sessional care settings
  • as a childminder
  • within a local authority or further education college, where the individual is involved in training the early years workforce.

By the time an individual has finished training s/he must:

  • hold a degree or degree equivalent qualification
  • be physically and mentally fit to work as an EYP
  • demonstrate that s/he does not have a criminal background that might prevent him/her from working with children or as an EYP, and that he/she has not previously been excluded from working with children
  • have achieved GCSE at grade C or above (or equivalents) in English and mathematics
  • demonstrate that s/he can read effectively and is able to communicate clearly and accurately in spoken and written English
  • have sufficient recent and relevant experience to enable him/her to demonstrate that s/he meets all the EYP standards across the age range birth to five.

Pathways to EYPS

There are a number of pathways to EYPS, depending on the individual’s qualifications and experience. All candidates undergo an initial assessment which helps to define which route they then follow. The options are a six-month part-time route, a 15-month part-time route or a 12-month full-time option.

Funding for EYP training The funding for EYP training is currently made available through the Transformation Fund, a resource specifically designed to improve the qualifications of early years practitioners within the private, voluntary and independent sectors. This funding will be replaced from April 2008 onwards by the Graduate Leader Fund.

In general, a qualified teacher working in a maintained school would not be eligible to receive funding towards training for EYPS. However, qualified teachers employed for at least half of their time by a children’s centre would be eligible to receive funding support towards EYPS training.

Further information on Early Years Professional Status and an up-to-date list of providers offering training is available on the Children’s Workforce Development website, where you can also pre-register.