After a two year struggle, as the posts in this section testify, we have finally achieved something approaching common sense in the maths and English requirements for Early Years Educator (EYE) apprenticeships. As a direct result of PBD’s legal action and lobbying:
Grade C GCSEs of any age, as well as equivalents such as O Levels, grade 1 CSEs and international GCSEs (but not functional skills) are now accepted for apprenticeships that started after 5 April 2015
The government has dropped its plans to impose a requirement to hold grade C GCSEs before being allowed to start an EYE apprenticeship.
It’s refreshing that we seem finally to have a Minister who is prepared to listen to reason, even if the process has been a bit like pulling teeth.
Illogically, a GCSE entry requirement is still to be imposed on anyone receiving public funding for an EYE qualification outside an apprenticeship (eg via a 24+ loan). We will continue to press for consistent treatment, even though the vast majority of those completing an EYE qualification with PBD do so as apprentices.
It remains the case that anyone completing an EYE qualification, however this is funded, needs to hold the relevant GCSEs or equivalent qualifications before they can count in ratio at Level 3.
Above all, this saga has demonstrated the dangers of ministers jumping into policies without thinking through the implications. A requirement for GCSEs may be reasonable enough in principle, but the whole system is geared to schools. Where are the public exam centres where apprentices can sit their GCSEs? Why have private training providers like PBD been left to depend on the goodwill of head teachers to provide places for working adults to sit their exams alongside year 11 students?