At a meeting last week there was much discussion around the subject of EYPs and how their qualifications compared to that of teachers. It occurred to me at the time, that whilst we may be talking about it a lot within the nursery industry, our very important customers probably have little awareness of the whole topic. During the last 2 years training has become available for graduates or experienced nursery staff to complete a further validation to become Early Years’ Professionals. The route to validation is varied, depending on what subject their degree is in and how much experience they have within the sector. They then gain this qualification and are expected to become the ‘curriculum lead’ in an Early Years setting. Their role is to oversee the running of the Early Years Foundation Stage and to provide best practice advice for the setting.
Great in principle, but in practice some early problems are rearing their head; in a nursery the EYP is qualified to lead the Pre-School practice, but not in a maintained school setting. Each nursery can apply for an element of funding to help support the salary costs of an EYP, but only one per setting, so if you have other budding EYPs they may have to leave and find a different nursery to pursue this career path in. No one has yet confirmed how EYPs will compare to someone with Qualified Teacher Status (QTS), which attracts much higher salaries, so the future is fraught with difficulties. I admire the Government’s aspiration that all Early Years settings should be led by a graduate by 2015, but the practicalities of achieving this will be a challenge to the whole sector.