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The Route to EYPS

Having completed my application form for the University of Brighton in November, I received an invitation to attend the EYPS briefing day today, with a follow-up interview on Thursday 11th Jan. Knowing that many FSF members are considering whether or not to go for EYPS, I'm going to keep a weekly diary here, to let you know what it all entails.

It's probably best to give a brief synopsis of my past and current experience, so here goes!

  • Degree in Linguistics and Music
  • D. Phil in Experimental Psychology
  • PGCE in Later Primary (whatever gives you the impression I was a perpetual student?!)
  • Taught for seven years in Years 4 and 2, and ran the music activities for the whole school
  • Had two children and opened my own nursery in 1999, whilst taking the NVQ 3 in Early Years Care and Education
  • Joined the Foundation Stage advisory team for East Sussex, as an associate advisor
  • Job-shared the QTS role at a Children's Centre for one year

OK, that's me to date. I've been trying to collect my thoughts on why I want to achieve EYPS as it doesn't appear to have an immediate advantage (other than to write these pieces for the Forum!) On greater reflection though, I believe it would be good for me because:

  • I may want to work in another Children's Centre in the future
  • I may want to become a tutor/assessor/mentor for future candidates
  • It will make me sum up my knowledge, skills and understanding thus far
  • I like being one of the first cohorts to achieve something and I'd like to be part of raising quality in the early years and of elevating the status of the workforce.

Which brings me up to today: the briefing day. 51 candidates in all arrived at Brighton University clutching our O level certificates (or if younger than me, their GCSEs), proof of degree status, QTS, passports or driving licences. Once these were checked, we were invited to the lecture hall where the Head of the School of Education greeted us, and explained a bit about the newness of everything and how there might be a few hiccups along the way. A generally positive atmosphere, with many people feeling quite excited about being the first candidates through the system, although some were pretty mystified about the different pathways and how they will be able to fit in the EYPS whilst simultaneously completing degrees and working full-time!

The first task was to get into groups of 5 or 6 and tell each other a bit about our current settings, and then to bullet point our understanding of the role undertaken by an EYP. Our group came up with the following:

  • Knowledge and understanding of child development and the FS curriculum
  • Ability to lead a team
  • Ability to encourage supportive teamwork
  • Building respectful relationships with children and parents/carers
  • Clear knowledge of legislation in the early years sector
  • Setting up and maintaining a welcoming, safe and secure, challenging and exciting learning environment

We could have gone on for hours, but we had but a few minutes!

Next up, we looked at Standard 7:

"Have high expectations of all children and commitment to ensuring that they can achieve their full potential".

  • In small groups again, we came up with a list of points, which would demonstrate that we met this standard:
  • Observations of children and information from parents and carers, practitioner colleagues, previous setting/childminder
  • Understanding of the children's different learning styles, levels of development, and interests
  • Using the above to plan with colleagues an appropriate, differentiated curriculum for all children
  • Constantly reviewing targets, with the child's input, and planning the next steps for learning ensuring sufficient challenge
  • A knowledge of, and ability to demonstrate practically, the scaffolding of children's learning
  • Being aware of, and endeavouring to remove, barriers to learning

I'm sure members here would be able to come up with more!

We were then taken through the assessment process, and over the next couple of months, I'll share with you what all that involves in the form of a weekly update.

We all have interviews in a couple of days' time. The interview process will comprise two parts:

1) A group task which we need to complete with up to six other candidates

2) An individual interview with a member of the EYPS team at the University.

This process will confirm our pathways to the EYPS (some candidates will be doing the validation pathway, the short EPD or the long EPD. The twelve months' full-time pathway is not offered at Brighton.)

The information shared at interview will also aid the tutors, mentors and assessors in understanding our skills in relation to the EYP standards, and will provide the information that will help them to identify each candidate's individual needs.

I'll let you know next week how it went!

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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