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Foundation Degrees Level 5!


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I've just been on the QCA site. There has been a restructuring of the qualifications.

 

The main change is that the number of levels in the NQF has increased to nine (entry level to level 8). This allows for clearer links with the framework for higher education qualifications (FHEQ). Entry level to level 3 stay the same. The main thing is that the Foundation Degree will be recognised at a level 5, not as I was told a level 4. And the Honours will be classed a level 6. Hurrah! :D

 

Angie

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Not wanting to put a damper on things, honestly, but I employed someone with the Foundation Degree and she didn't even have basic observation skills. I don't know how she got through without these skills. What does the degree consist of?

 

Peggy

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I think that is almost the 64,000 dollar question Peggy!!

 

I am currently half way through the FD with the Open University. After looking around at different institutions offering this course I chose the OU because distance learning suited my lifestyle but also because of the course content.

 

The Dfes laid down 12 Early Years Core Learning Outcomes which are set out in their ' Statement of Requirement for the FD'

 

I could have attended a local college that has a University franchise and attended one or two days a week but didnt want that sort of practical committment of attending college. The content does vary quite considerably.

 

However, I think the marking system could be better. I currently have the Certificate in Early Years Practice (Level 4) which consisted of two separate modules, each of which required 3 written assignments and an end of course assessment. There are no levels of pass so somone who manages to just scrape through with a bare 40% ends up with the same qualification as someone who got 100% all the way through. To me someone who scrapes through has not got the same understanding of the course materials as someone who scores more than double but comes out with the same qualification!

 

We have covered observations and maybe your employee is one of the ones who didn't grasp it, or just scraped through. :o

 

I am currently doing 'Personal and professional development: early years settings. In May I start another course "English, maths and science in the early years" and next year take the final course for the degree. This 'route specific' where I decide which route I am going to do and have already decided to go for the foundation stage. There are other, age related routes as the degree covers ages 0-8yrs.

 

Sorry prattling now!!!!

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Thanks Geraldine that is very useful, I have been thinking about doing the OU degree as I have time constraints with accessing college etc. The employee is now an ex and working in a jewelery shop :o

 

I've just looked on the framework site and can't find my ADCE, Advanced Diploma in Childcare and Education( I thought it was a level 4) so maybe I do need to update.

 

Does the degree cover management as part of professional development?

 

Peggy

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I'm not sure about that. I'll have a look at the O.U. site.

 

I faced a dilema when I completed the NVQ3, which course should I take next? I initially thought the NVQ 4 Management strain but I found it nigh on impossible to find a college within 25 miles that I could study with at the time. So I chose the OU. They've been fab, I can't fault them at all. But I could certainly do with studying a course that is aimed at management.

 

Angie

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Sorry to be vague Peggy but one of the slight drawbacks is that the Ou is presenting the FD for the first time.

 

THere are some compulsory courses and a choice in others. I was

in the first cohort when it started in Feb 2003. To a degree I have been a bit of guinea pig in that every course I have done has been presented by the OU for the first time. I know that the course I am doing next year is not yet fully written and therefore its actual content is a little bit of a mystery. I do know it is called "Extending Personal and Proffessional development"

 

I think the best information for content of the FD (regardless of who you choose to study with) is the guidance laid down by the DfES. Whoever offers the course has to adhere to detailed core learning outcomes.

 

The DfES produced a 'Statement of requirement for the Early Years sector endorsed Foundation Degree' and like lots of documents it had further info added so they produced a second document called the "annexe to the statement of requirement'

 

Both are weigthy documents with the first being 100 pages and the annexe another 60 pages or so!!

 

They are both available to download from the DfES website but it is probably easier just to order both (save a fortune on paper and ink!!)

 

Hope this helps and if you want my advice

 

GO FOR IT!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Thanks a lot Geraldine,

 

Before I trawl through hefty documents, what are the approximate cost implications of doing the degree?

 

Peggy

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Depends whether you can get funding or not!

 

I originally got involved due to the 'old NNEB' saga and thought I had bette update pronto!!!

 

At the time the DfES were offering a funding package to part time students doing the degree. This was available on first come first served and did not depend on income etc.

 

I was allowed up to £750 a year for course fees (paid direct to OU) £500 cash bursary a year (non repayable) and the loan of a laptop computer and printer.

 

THe financial aspect was for the first two years of study and the PC on loan for 3 years ( after which you either return or buy at discount price)

 

I didnt actually get to spend the £750 a year due to a combination of the timing of presentation of courses and me not wanting to start off by doing two courses alongside each other.

 

My financial 'allowance' ran from Feb o3-jan04 and feb04- jan 05

 

in 2003 i did one course at a cost of £235 which was funded

in 2004 i did two courses at a cost of £245 each and both were funded

 

I have just started a course this week at a cost of £570 and another one due to start in May at £245 and I have to pay for both :o but I was very good and saved the annual bursarys of £5oo each so the cost of both this years courses are covered. So to date it has not cost me anything!

 

I expect the final course next year will be around £500.

 

I have no idea of the current funding possibilites but know that it has changed. However, it's worth looking into, I know some people who missed out on DfES funding managed to get funding from their EYCDP.

 

The OU do operate an account system whereby you can spread the cost of courses and pay monthly by direct debit.

 

Gosh does this make any sense!!!!

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I am currently half way through the second year of the foundation Degree in suffolk, I attend college one day a week but it is considered to be Full time due as it is a work based degree and therefore the time spent at work ( a minimum of 20 hours) is counted towards a full time course. Therefore I qualify for a student loan, student card that gives discounts at loads of different shops but most valuable is a reduction in our council tax!

 

I have friends who are single parents who have had all the fees paid for, otherwise it currently costs £1150 per year. I have recieved funding from an early years fund of approx £500, which we had to apply for and my school ( I am a Nursery Nurse) has recieved funding towards mentor costs and additional costs of approx £500. I am very fortunate that the school support me financially and have paid all my fees.

 

On completion of a Foundation Degree you will have 240 credits I intend doing the final year of the Early Childhood Studies Degree which will give me a full honours degree. This can also be done over a day or a day and a half.

 

For those interested I would recommend it totally I have really enjoyed flexing the old grey matter having a day when I am not Mum, Wife, Mrs ... etc etc also I get to SIT for a whole hour eating lunch and chatting about anything that isn't work!

A word of caution it is not the easy option to getting a degree, it is alot of work and my holidays and weekends are spent working. Which along with a family and planning etc involves alot of juggling.

 

Previously someone mentioned someone doing a foundation degree not knowing about observations, in order to get on a degrree course we had to have a level 3 qualification and doesn't that involve obs? It did when I did my BTEC many moons ago! you also have to have a minimum 2 years experience.

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Thank you Geraldine and Sharon for taking the time to give me so much detail.

 

Sharon, my ex staff member had done the BTEC, but didn't have two years experience after achieving this, just went straight into the degree. I also think it was a case of immaturity and not having enough experience to consolidate her learning.

I understand it will not be easy, I did the Cert Ed in "98 at the same time as my ADCE, as I recall, time management was quite difficult.

 

Thanks again, I really think I will go for it.

 

Peggy

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Angi88 Where did you find the info about the foundation degree being level 5?

I've tried the site without luck. Could you post it on here?

 

thanks

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I went to a meeting the other night about foundation degree was very exiting they said the cost of the course was £1200 each year but there might be some funding available or get a student grant!!!!!! (which im not keen on doing). The early years team who were there frightened us a little by saying with the new 10 year stratorgy from the government basically if you didnt have some sort of qualifcation like the FD Ed we wouldnt be able to run as a manger in 10 yrs time!!!!! :o

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Hali and I were obviously at the same meeting!

 

Did I imagine it but did the Early Years bod say we 'are five years into the ten year strategy' and that meant that in five years people in charge of early years setting would need to have 'senior practitioner status'? I went home that night, downloaded the document and it said 'December 2004'. A case of too much ear wax or am I just hard of understanding...?

 

I can't actually find anywhere in the Ten Year Strategy that says "all pre-school leaders must have a Foundation Degree and have Senior Practitioner Status" (although I'm still looking!). It does however say that pre-schools will be led by a qualified person.

 

Funny enough, I thought my Level 3 DPP qualified me for just this purpose...

 

Mind you this is the second time I've flirted with the Foundation Degree. If only I was good at making decisions...

 

Maz

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I couldn't find anything in the ten year strategy either! but I sort of thought the government would not go spending millions of pounds paying for practitioners to do the foundation degree if it was not going to have any sort of status in years to come. No one seems to know what this 'Senior Practitioner' will mean!! :o

 

I dithered a bit too, but age is not on my side so I am doing the degree, thoroughly enjoying it (most of the time!) and if a time comes when I need it to keep my job or get another one then I will have it (hopefully) and if not well, I have learned along the way, developed personally and professionally, met loads of lovely people and oh yes! I like to think the children have gained too!!!! :D and in terms of finance it has hardly cost me anything

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Hi Littleheckythump,

 

I'm not very clever at putting direct links in, however if you do a search for QCA, get their home page. Click on Qualifiactions at the top of the page. Click on National Qualification framework on the left hand collumn. Scroll down the page for a bit and you'll find it. Hope it helps.

 

Angie

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Hi Geraldine

 

I'm glad you're enjoying the course - it sounds very challenging, but stimulating too! Perhaps you can help me in my decision making process! How much time would you say you spend each week outside of college doing the necessary reading, writing and research?

 

Its all too easy to go get carried away and sign up for something without really considering the implications. I'm really, really tempted but I want to go in with my eyes wide open!

 

Thanks!

 

Maz

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Hi Maz

 

I too am doing the FD Early Years connected to a college rather than O.U. I spend 1-2 hours of serious study (reading, research or writing) an evening apart from when an assignment is coming up then maybe 3hrs+ per night on average for 2 weeks prior to assignment hand in date. Most of my modules require two written assignments and we do 1.5 - 2 modules per term. In between college sessions we also have directed time to complete (part of the 1-2 hours per night) which has to be done for the following week's college night. This can be reading and note-taking or more structured written work, but it all helps with the assignment.

 

The modules that I am doing at present are "How children learn through play" and "Reviewing profeesional skills." I have got to do a powerpoint presentation for the first assignment on the 2nd of the two modules, which I have to present to the rest of my tutor group and my tutor. (Arrrrrggggggghhhh :o ) The other assignments are portfolios; one of observations on play, and the other on my professional skills!!!!

 

They all sound a bit scary but you get loads of support and it is really challenging and really interesting, far more in depth than the NVQ3. I'm enjoying it and would advise everyone to give it a go!

 

hth

Magpie

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Thanks Magpie

 

That's really helpful - its good to know you're enjoying all the hard work! Time management has never been my strong point, but it seems that if I decide to go ahead I'll have to mend my errant ways.

 

I did smile at what you said about needing to spend extra hours before an assignment deadline - I'm such a last minute merchant that I often just used to keep on going all night to get it done. I kid myself that I "do my best work under pressure", but really I'm just too lazy to pull my finger out and get stuck in.

 

Thanks for the words of wisdom - it certainly has given me something to think about!

 

Maz

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Dear Angie,

You mentioned that you would like to do some management - why not look at the Foundation Nursery Managemet course with Liverpool Hope University - this is done through e-learning with the Uni in a similar sort of way as your OU. I am hopefully going to get the 360 degree BA Nursery Management degree to 2 years time although you can start by doing the Foudantion 240 credit module.

Once you start learning it becomes quite addictive so I am interested in supplementing this with the Foundation degree that you are doing currently - perhaps not at the moment because as someone says it is not for the faint hearted and certainly takes up a lot of time - don't think I could manage both at the same time - doing one is hard enough. I would say to anyone if you are interested then go for it - it really is interseting and I certainly get a sense of achievement.

Nikki

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Thanks Nicola,

 

I've never heard of this course. I'll certainly have a look on the webe to find out more about it. However, as you say it probably be too much to take on at the same time. I agree learning is very addictive! :D

 

Angie

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I would agree with Magpie's assessment of the work load for the Foundation Degree. There is also a fair amount of work to be done in your setting some of which I have needed to do as extra if it has not fitted in with what we have been doing.

For me it was the only way I was going to get a degree and eventually QTS as we couldn't afford for me to leave work. Also I didn't want to be out of the classroom for 4years as this is not only the most valuable part of my proffessional development but also the most fun!

As I am now halfway through the 2dn year we are thinking of the next step which will probably be the 3rd year of the BA Hons in early childhood studies and the Registered Teacher Programme with QTS. This can be done one day a week over 2 years. At the end I will have a foundation degree, a BA hons and QTS.

 

Sharon

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Aha! I have just spent a thrilling afternoon trawling through the Ten Year Strategy for Childcare document again, and have at last found the information I was looking for:-

 

Page 45 says "The Government is committed to radical reform of the early years and childcare workforce. We will work with leading bodies in the sector to achieve the long-term vision which is to:-

 

- ensure that all full day care settings are led by graduate qualified early years professionals....

 

- improve the qualifications of early years and childcare workers. More will be trained to degree level....."

 

I have left out the other stuff about the qualifications framework which follows, but the implication of this is clear enough, although the document is careful to avoid giving dates by which these reforms will be completed.

 

Now I can see why our Early Years team are so keen to get as many of us started on our Foundation Degrees. Just one small problem though: how on earth will early years settings afford to pay the enhanced salaries of degree-qualified staff in order to keep this expertise in the sector? It will be interesting to see if any extra funding for employers will be forthcoming...

 

Maz

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I'm also doing the OU FD. I'm not as clever as Geraldine though!

 

Like Geraldine, I've been a guinea pig on new courses. Someone has to be the first. Geraldine is excellent at OU courses. She knows exactly what the score is, where to go, who knows what .... And she is a mine of information!

 

I'm just a novice, but an experienced, knowledgable, novice. If I can do it, anyone can! We may not all get A's, distinctions, whatever, but a pass is as good as! And there is a qualification at the end of it.

 

I already have a B.Sc. (Hons). It is of no relevance to what I'm doing now (except I could do a PGCE on that basis - but I won't). For family reasons.

 

I have an academic past - my future is not there. My future is hands-on EY education. I don't want to write for journals, train academics in science ... I just want to work at what Ienjoy most and what I know I'm good at.

 

Some early years settings, hopefully, will welcome underlings like me: comitted and dedicated, and working towards formal qulaifications.

 

Peggy- I know you want dedicated staff. Some of us are! Just ask the right questions! You will get what you need!

 

Diane.

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Post script to my last post:

 

Get the CertEYP(OU). Life goes on.

 

Pay/terms/conditions of employment: as before (i.e government minimum wage; no keyworker responsibilities). Unfortunately my setting only "recognises" NVQs.

 

So, I work towards the EYFD. I am the "least qualified" of the unqualified staff in the setting. Since only NVQs are recognised, those just starting on NVQ2 equivalent are more qualified than I am. Those not doing the NVQ2 course have got more official "working experience" in the setting than I have. I spent 6 years as committee before my five years' working!

 

Clearly, I am lowest of the low - no NVQ qualification - and only an NVQ 4 equivalent!

 

At this point, do I ask for the setting to support me though the NVQ2? Which I could do in paralell with my OU EYFD.

 

 

I could manage a setting! Despite my lack of qualifications. Incidentally - I was a trained manager in my past life!

 

Diane

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So let me get this right, Diane

 

You are currently doing the Early Years Foundation Degree. You say you were on the committee before your five years working. Is this five years working in pre-school? And then you mention 'only an NVQ4 equivalent'! Sounds to me like you have a weath of strengths to put on your CV!

 

How does this make you 'the lowest of the low'? I certainly wouldn't regard someone like you as an 'underling' - far from it!

 

This is where the wheel comes off the qualifications merry-go-round. Many settings would welcome someone with your experience, qualifications and obvious commitment to your job. Perhaps you could speak to someone in your Early Years Team for some careers counselling.

 

I can't understand how someone studying a Foundation Degree would need to do an NVQ 2 to get some recognition in the workplace! And I can't imagine what an NVQ assessor would say when faced with a Level 2 candidate who is capable of degree-level study!

 

All I can say is your setting is lucky to have you! Perhaps they feel somewhat intimidated by such a highly qualified member of staff: especially as you say, you could manage the setting!

 

I wish you well in your studies, and hope you can keep positive!

 

Maz

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Very perceptive Maz!

 

And I am positive! Even though the setting doesn't recognise my skills and knowledge .... I am starting to!

 

It really is a "dark ages" setting. And they need to jolly themselves along a bit.

 

They won't acknowledge my CertEYP(Open) [level 4 equivalent] because it is not an NVQ. In fact, the leader and her deputy have said, categorically, that "the NVQ3 is the hardest qualification to get" and that "it is better than anything else".

 

Clearly the setting needs to have plenty of staff at NVQ2. Including the leader and deputy, there are 11 staff. Leader and deputy have NVQ3. The rest of us (my level 4 is disregarded) are unqualified. Two years ago, four staff did the IPP. The leader told them it was a level 2 qualification. I did the IPP when it WAS level 2, and had informed the leader/setting when it was downgraded. A big "oops" when I remarked that the staff doing IPP wouldn't have level 2! Now they are just embarking on the NVQ2's.

 

So, since only existing and impending NVQs are recognised ..... this leaves me unqualified. The staff just starting their NVQ 2's are considered more advanced. Hence (despite their lack of knowledge/working experience) they can tell me to "do this, do that". Which they do. So, if someone needs taking to the toilet, needs changing .... I do it.

 

I am now in a position where I cannot say "X can write her own name, please let her do it", because the leader has told the staff that children's names are to be written in highlighter pen (that they can trace over if they want to).

 

I know I can work properly in early years. I will do very soon.

 

Diane.

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