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Today in a speech at the Policy Exchange, Children's Minister Liz Truss outlined her vision for early years childcare. Her comments follow the publication of the report "More great childcare". Ms Truss' view is that currently too many people working with young children are under-qualified and that the system for qualifications is "confusing and inadequate". Drawing on the work of Professor Cathy Nutbrown, she says that it is not acceptable that childcare professionals are not required to have at least a C grade in GCSE English and maths. Putting this in an international context, she cites examples such as the Netherlands where childcare workers must train for three years post-18. Ms Truss therefore intends to introduce a graduate level qualification for Early Years Teachers specifically trained to teach young children. In addition, the Nursery Nurse Diploma will be reintroduced, and 'Early Years Educators' will be created. Both the latter qualifications will require a C grade pass in GCSE English and maths.
Ms Truss also proposes changing staff to student ratios in nurseries: for ones-and-under the ratio will rise from three children per adult to four, and for two-year-olds it will rise from four children per adult to six. Having fewer, better trained childcare professionals, she says, will give early years providers more flexibility, make more childcare places available and reduce costs for parents in the "long term".
A transcript of Elizabeth Truss' speech can be found here.