Memorandum from Professor Lesley Abbott
"The calibre and training of the professionals
who work with children are the key determinants of high quality
provision".RSA Early Learning Inquiry (Ball 1994)
1. Research findings increasingly highlight
the link between quality early years provision and practice and
the appropriateness of the training undertaken by staff. MMU
1994: EPPE 1999.
2. A "climbing frame" of training
opportunity should allow all staff to progress as far as possible
both upwards and across the climbing frame.
3. Availability, Access and Funding are
key issues in determining the success of a "climbing frame"
model which addresses initial training and continuing professional
4. The multi-disciplinary nature of early
years work requires staff who are able to work across disciplines.
Training at all levels should take account of this requirement
and the new training needs in response to initiatives such as
Sure Start and Early Excellence Centres.
5. There is a shortage of trainers in Colleges
and Universities with sufficient experience, knowledge and understanding
of the Early Years phase 0-6 years. Appropriately qualified trainers
are needed particularly to support staff working with the 0-3
age range and the implementation of (ELGs 3-5). The Foundation
Stage and the Early Learning Goals.
6. The increase in interdisciplinary degrees
such as the BA Early Childhood Studies is encouraging, but lack
of funding, particularly to support experienced but low paid staff
on part- time courses discourages many potential students. Access
to degree level study is particularly important in the light of
the recommendations of the Early Childhood Education Forum and
the Pre-school Review (1999) that all managers of Centres should
7. Whilst Early Years Development and Childcare
Partnerships support training at the local level more award bearing
opportunities are needed.
8. The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority
Framework has been developed in order to establish national standards
and career routes. This is welcomed, however it does not yet fully
acknowledge the links with Higher Education which are necessary
for full development of the climbing frame.
9. NVQ Level 4 is seen as the link between
vocational and Higher Education but this level has not yet been
fully developed for the Early Years.
10. There are still major differences between
academic and vocational qualifications particularly with regard
to the opportunities for staff to gain the necessary underpinning
11. The UK is still one of the few countries
in the world where all nursery teachers are graduates, qualified
to teach at any stage in the education system. Whilst the status
of Early Years teachers must be safeguarded, increasing pressure
is placed upon Early Years students in training.
(DfEE Circular 4/98)
12. The Teacher Training Agency should recognise
the complex nature of Early Years Teaching and revise the standards
13. More specialist Early Years courses
are required which are sufficiently flexible to meet student need
and address key issues such as child development, working with
parents and carers, management of an Early Years setting.
14. New routes into teaching should include
part time study and school and centre based training but the status
and quality of training and of Early Years teachers must be safeguarded.
15. Support for childminders and private
and voluntary sector workers in accessing training and gaining
recognised qualifications should be increased and every effort
made in order to remove barriers preventing access to all levels
of the "climbing frame". (Pre-School Review 1999).
16. Those responsible for training at all
levels must themselves have appropriate qualifications and training.
17. It is important that there are Early
Years representatives on the General Teaching Council with responsibility
to inform and support Early Years teachers, particularly those
working across the range of Early Years provision.
Abbott L & Pugh G (eds) (1998) Training
to work in the Early Years Developing the Climbing Frame. Buckingham
Open University Press.
Ball C (1994): Start RightReport of the
RSA Early Learning Inquiry. London RSA.
Department for Education and Employment Circular
4/98Teaching : High Status, High Standards. London DfEE.
Sylva K, Melhuish E, Sammons P and Siraj-Blatchford
(1999): The Effective Provision of Pre-School: EducationTechnical
Manchester Metropolitan University (1994): Factors
Affecting the Quality of Provision in Pre-School Settings. Report
of the Esme«e Fairbairn/MMU Research Project. MMU.
Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (1999):
Early Years Education, Childcare and Playwork. A framework of
nationally accredited qualifications. London QCA.
Department for Education and Employment (1999):
Tomorrows' children: the review of pre-schools and playgroups.
Professor Lesley Abbott
51 To meet additional standards. Back