Graduate Leaders in Early Years

In April 2008 the Transformation Fund was superseded by the Graduate Leader Fund (GLF) to support full day care PVI sector in employing a graduate or a practitioner with Early Years Professional status (EYPS) by 2015.  Local Authorities were free to administer the fund as they saw appropriate for their local PVI sector.  GLF funding ended in March 2011 and funding to support the graduate leader initiative came from the Early Intervention Grant.  The relationship between qualifications and the quality of early year’s provision has been well documented.  The reports and evaluations contained in this section give a national perspective.

Developing high quality early years leaders is central to workforce development and improving outcomes for children and young people.

More Great Childcare, published in January 2013, sets out a plan of action for how the government will achieve its vision of a dynamic childcare market, delivering high quality early education.  The report includes the government’s response to Professor Cathy Nutbrown’s independent review Foundations for quality.

The government wants to move decisively away from the idea that teaching young children is somehow less important or inferior to teaching school age children. The government want more high quality graduates to work in the early year’s sector and intends to build upon the achievements of the Early Years Professional Status (EYPS) programme by introducing early year’s teachers to lead further improvements in quality.  The final recruitment to the EYPS programme was in January 2013.  Early Years Teacher Status will commence in September 2013.

Early years teachers will be specialists in early childhood development, trained to work with babies and young children from birth to 5.  They will be graduate leaders responsible for organising and leading high quality practice in early year’s settings.  A set of Early Years Teacher Status Standards have been developed.  These standards ensure that the training and assessment of early Years Teachers is appropriate and builds upon the current Early Years professional Status Standards and will operate in parallel with the current Teacher’s Standards.  Those who successfully meet the Early Years Teacher Standards will be awarded Early Years Teacher Status.

The government’s vision is to increase the status of the profession so that many more graduates will consider a career as an early year’s teacher.  The change will give one title of ‘teacher’ across the early years and schools which can be easily recognised by parents and colleagues in other agencies working with children. View the DofE National Evaluations of Graduate Leader Fund


Graduate Leaders in early years : Information for employers

Research demonstrates the increased impact that graduates have on improving outcomes for young children.  If children are not provided with high quality provision in the early years, then they are not equipped with the skills they need to thrive in the future.

Early Years Teachers (and existing Early Years Professional Status practitioners)  will be specialists in birth to 5 years and will be ideally placed to fulfil the needs of employers in private, voluntary and independent settings and schools to provide high quality education and care for our youngest children.

Free schools and academies (including alternative provision academies) can employ teaching staff without the requirement for them to have Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) and can set their own pay scales.  In maintained schools, Qualified Teacher Status (QTS)is currently a requirement for teachers.

The government takes the view that the pay and conditions for staff working in early education and childcare settings are best determined at local level.  However, the government would expect employers to want to pay Early Years Teachers in accord with their status.


Priorities for accessing funding from the Graduate Leader Fund 2013-14 

  • Support for those PVI practitioners enrolled on the Foundation Degree courses, including those moving onto Honours Degrees.  This would be up to 95% of the course fees up to a maximum of £1282.50. 
  • Full day care settings (non domestic premises) and childminders in areas of deprivation. 
  • Full day care settings (non domestic premises) without a graduate or a practitioner on a graduate pathway. 
  • Early Years Initial Teacher Training (formerly EYPS) funded training for PVI and maintained settings at 95% of course fees up to a maximum of £1150.00. 
  • Maths/English/Science equivalency for those graduates requiring this in order to achieve Early Years Teacher Status up to a maximum of £400.00 per subject. 

For furter information on accessing funding please contact Ann Spetch. Alternativly, complete the application form.


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