...is an area of Aspect’s website dedicated to our work with EYPs. If you are an EYP yourself, or are currently studying on a path towards EYP status, now is the moment to join your professional association and union. Learn more.

Posts Tagged ‘EYPs’

Election fever reigns: but where next for early years?

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

With election excitement high but outcomes still too close to call, the ramifications for professionals in early years remain very uncertain.

Sadly, pre-election the debates seemed to reveal a worrying lack of engagement and priority given to the early years agenda, with few moments when our collective issues really seemed to catch the limelight.

However we cannot let our issues lie and we won’t.

The current national political negotiations hold real potential quandaries for all of us. Some of the divides may be obscure but there are also very real differences:

  • The Lib Dems and Tories have both demonstrated suspicion or dislike of the EYFS though their remedies remain undetailed
  • Labour have driven through the EYPS programme and seem to remain committed, whereas both the other main parties have stayed silent
  • Wider questions of qualifications, despite the focus within the sector itself, has been largely ignored
  • The Tories have pursued a values-agenda with the proposed marriage tax break which has been rejected by both Labour and the Lib Dems
  • The future of Sure Start, the number and role of Children’s Centres in the future, and the interaction of Outreach workers with health visitor numbers did feature in campaigning and in manifestos – yet the figures and likely real impacts of policies remain unclear
  • Flexible working policies and extended parental leave are promoted by all parties – although as ever “details” (ie levels of pay and support) remain less clear yet are crucial in determining genuine access and uptake
  • The logic that more flexible working and a focus on employment must demand more in terms of the the hours and demands on early years settings and workers seems to be entirely missed
  • Basics such as pay and status seem to remain in the shadows

There’s clearly much to play for in the ongoing debates.

Across the sector we do not always agree ourselves on the way forward. However, there are some basics which few of us dispute. And maybe there is something here about focusing our attention, and our collective weight and strength, on the underlying issues that we all know must be tackled. They might be hard, and they may not lend themselves to eye-catching policies … but here are some of our suggestions for the real issues we should all be ganging together to fight:

Let’s demand higher status for the early years sector and stand up proudly for what we do.

Let’s demand the funding, support and structures that quality provision cannot do without.

Let’s demand proper pay, conditions, recognition and career structures for everyone working in early years at every level.

Let’s demand real recognition that every child has the right to the best start in life, and that this means every child having access to the very highest quality education and care.

Whoever forms the next government we are going to need to stand firmer and stronger than ever to ensure every single child has the best possible access and opportunities, every single parent and carer feels truly confident in the care and education their child receives, and every single early years worker has the respect, support and recognition of society.

So over the next few hours, days, weeks and months let’s stand together and demand that all our politicians, on this vital subject, put party politics aside and stand up for our children and our future.

Early years: a manifesto trawl

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

To inform and support discussions at our EYP National Committee meeting last week (reported here) we produced a document including all the relevant excerpts from the main party manifestos (in alphabetical order: Conservatives, Greens, Labour, Liberal Democrats, UKIP).

For all of us for whom the future of early years, early years workers, and the education, care and nurturing of our youngest children is a key priority … please take a look:

>> Early Years Policy Commitments

Sadly, none of the parties mention EYPs. However, as our earlier article explained, we have written to each of the main parties to clarify their position on this crucial component of the early years world.

You may also be interested in a more general round-up of policies relating to education that can be found on SchoolDuggery’s blog. A helpful and succinct summary!

Similarly, there’s also a summary on the Guardian website.

Commentary on the policies of each of the parties can also be found in these two Nursery World articles:

So what do you think? Who has your vote? How important are these matters to you in determining how you will vote? The politicians seem to have been very quiet on these matters: let’s get the debate going as loudly as possible so they have to take part and listen our views.

Chasing the parties for answers on Early Years Professional Status (EYPS)

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

Aspect has written to each of the main parties to elicit their views and commitments regarding Early Years Professional Status. Our letters have been sent to Annette Brooke (Liberal Democrats), Ed Balls (Labour), and Tim Loughton (Conservative).

The letters remind each party of the huge strides forward that have already been made with the introduction of the EYPS, alongside other developments such as the focus on level 3 qualifications and the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS).

They also highlight, however, that the EYPS project remains fragile, and why – with vulnerable and sparse roles, limited career paths, and the very low levels of pay still prevalent for many.

Aspect has therefore asked four simple questions of each party:

1 – Are you committed to maintaining and developing the Early Years Professional Status programme, and providing statutory force to the 2010 and 2015 targets, to ensure there are EYPs in every setting?

2 – Are you committed to working with professional bodies in the children’s workforce, including the early years sector, in order to develop effective and sustainable career paths and salary arrangements?

3 – What measures would you implement to deliver parity between Qualified Teacher Status and Early Years Professional Status in terms of

a – remuneration and conditions of service

b – status transferability, with parity in respect to routes to transition between QTS and EYPS

c – public understanding, recognition and awareness?

4 – What plans do you have to develop effective professional registration mechanisms and the funding and infrastructure for effective Continuous Professional Development for EYPs, to ensure equity and parity with comparative professionals?

Watch this space for updates as we have them …

Aspect EYP meets their local MP … Ed Balls

Monday, April 19th, 2010

Today’s blog is the first in what we hope will be an occasional series contributed by our members.

So welcome to our very first guest contributor reporting back on a meeting with her local MP – who, as he is Ed Balls also happens to be the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families.

Aspect EYP member, Kay, reports:

“I would urge everyone to go see their MP to ask them what they are doing to get some clarity about the status of Early Years Professionals. Last month I went to see mine, who just happens to be Ed Balls, also Secretary of State for Children, Families and Schools.

I wanted to know what the future holds for EYPS & when did he think that the status would become recognised as being equivalent to Qualified Teacher Status. He didn’t know, without taking it back to his parliamentary office, but he said he would be in touch with me in the next couple of weeks.

I work in a children’s centre. Ed was really interested in what was going on in our centre (which isn’t in his constituency, but is in his wife’s, just along the road!). He asked me questions about multi-agency working, how many people pass through our doors each week etc, and did seem genuinely interested.

I thanked him for all that his party had done for early years & that it was what I had been campaigning & waiting for for 30 years. I feel that ‘we’ have gone some way in getting recognition for how hard we work & what a crucial time in a child’s development the early years are.

I think now is a good time to talk to MPs. They will all be wanting our vote in the forthcoming election. And we need them to know what we care about. Talk to them whatever setting you work in. Explain the issues associated with early years funding. Ask them about EYPS and careers in early years. Let’s tell them clearly how low the pay is, still, for early years workers – and let’s make sure they know how hard we work for that money!

Thanks to Kay for feeding back to us!

Now it’s over to you. What do you think? Have you spoken to your MP, written to her/him, petitioned your local council or done anything similar? Comment below or let us know through Facebook, Twitter or email!

DCSF “Next Steps” still fragile one year on

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

One year on from the DCSF’s “Next Steps for Early Learning and Childcare”, there has been considerable progress, with the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) in particular now forming a key part of the landscape.

However there is also much that is fragile. The postponed implementation of the Early Years Single Funding Formula demonstrates how much misunderstanding remains about how this compex sector really operates. The recent turnaround regarding childcare vouchers is to be welcomed – but the slower progress towards free places for two-year-olds is not.

Recruitment onto the latest Early Years Professional Status (EYPS) pathways has been very promising. Yet significant evidence has emerged in the last year of problems with retention, especially in the PVI sector. The case for introducing proper pay arrangments, and clear career paths remains strong, as demonstrated by the several hundred signatories who have signed the petition on the Prime Ministers’ website (http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/eyppayscales/).

Fundamentally, the problem remains that early years is chronically underfunded, and remains a cinderella sector. The Daycare Trust research published recently reminds us all of the benefits of graduate leadership, as well as demonstrating the shortfall in funding across the sector. As a society, we are letting down our youngest children.

The evidence is clear: high quality early years education and care not only changes the lives of individual children and families, it also offers a clear return on investment higher than almost any other public expenditure.

At a time of ongoing economic crisis, this is one sector where the government – whatever colour it may be by mid-2010 – must invest far more substantially.

Children deserve EYPs

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

The research is clear:

High quality graduate-led early education and care provision leads to better outcomes for children.

Sadly this message seems not to resonate with the media. Working mothers (not parents, note) “causing” their children’s health problems – that’s a news story. Mothers job-sharing and childcare-sharing (or should this be called parenting-sharing?) and being reported by a neighbour so Ofsted get involved – that’s a news story too.

High quality care and education requires money, commitment and a professional workforce – so far that hasn’t really been a news story.

Why not? Well maybe it’s a bit too analytical, a bit too measured, not enough “blame” opportunities (could it be that the stories above benefit from two all-too-common targets for blame, mothers and public services?).

Despite this, though, we need to fight back. We need to take and shake up the news agenda. In some ways after all it is a simple message: quality counts, and quality means a properly respected, properly paid, highly trained and educated workforce.

We owe it to every parent to make sure they know this. We owe it to our children to ensure society as a whole know this.

Parents – and good parenting – maketh the child. Alongside that, experience of high quality early education and care gives that child the best possible chance as they grow and develop.

So let’s go out and shout it from the rooftop …

Every parent wants the very best for their children. The future of society also means we need the very best for our children.

Quality matters. And the biggest driver of quality are the best people. So above all quality staff matter.

So what can you do?

  • If you are an EYP, or a manager with an EYP in your setting: shout about it loud and clear.
  • If you are a parent: does your child attend a setting with an Early Years Professional (EYP) leading excellent practice?
  • If you are in a Local Authority: are you sure all your parents know why they need an EYP in their setting?

Whoever you are: shout it loud and clear …

Children deserve the best. Especially in their very earliest years. Children deserve EYPs.

What have you done today to get the message out there?

Aspect EYP Zone is proudly powered by WordPress
Entries (RSS) and Comments (RSS).