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The Route to EYPS

I arrived along with 20 other candidates for our group task and interview morning. All 20 of us will be taking either the validation route or the short EPD pathway. Some candidates were puzzled they had been initially placed on the short EPD when they felt that they are so near to achieving the standards that they should be allocated the validation pathway. We were informed that the interview process is used to determine the final pathway for each candidate. It was up to us to show off our knowledge and experience!

We were grouped in threes and fours at various tables and asked to open an envelope containing around 18 statements on individual strips of paper. These statements were opinions around early years education and provision, eg something along the lines of,
"Children learn best when there is a qualified teacher present". (Don't all shout at once!) Another one stated "Children learn best by rote". You get the picture, I'm sure.
We were asked to discuss the statements with our fellow candidates and to place the statements in order of priority. An assessor sat at our table listening to our discussions and taking notes, but not contributing at all.

I really enjoy doing this sort of thing: it's easy to talk for hours on a subject that you feel passionate about isn't it? I don't know if other groups placed their statements in the same order as us. If there had been more time (we only had around half an hour), it would have been fun to look at the other tables.

Then we each had an individual interview with one of the tutors/advisors/lecturers who have been brought on board to work with the EYPS candidates. My interview was very low-key; more of an equal discussion really, where I explained all the work I have been doing these last eighteen months. I do feel as if I can meet the 39 standards with examples of my recent work, although I did say I would like to attend some of the lectures that have been arranged for candidates taking other pathways, particularly the three lectures on speech and language development presented by a speech therapist. This is a subject that really interests me, and I know I can always learn more.

For many candidates, the biggest "gap", if you like, is the 0-3 years experience, not just with working with babies and children up to 3 years, but leading this work. Many candidates will be required to arrange placements in babyrooms and toddler rooms to improve their knowledge and skills in working with this age group.

I've heard via email who my mentor will be during the process, and I've been encouraged to make contact. During the validation period, mentoring will consist of up to three online support opportunities, and it is recommended that we get in touch with our mentors prior and after our formative reviews, and for support during our written tasks.

Tomorrow I'm off to the University again as I have a preparation day for my formative review. I'll tell you all about that in my next instalment!

Helen Edwards
Helen was a primary school teacher before setting up and running her own nursery for ten years. She worked as a Foundation Stage advisor for East Sussex local authority before achieving EYPS with the first cohort of candidates at the University of Brighton. She was an EYPS assessor for two providers in the South East, a reflective practice tutor at the University of Brighton and an Ofsted inspector. She is a Director of the Foundation Stage Forum and a member of the Tapestry Education Group.

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