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I have just received this months copy of Practical Preschool, and there is an article about the governments idea regarding graduates running early years settings.


It got me thinking again(!) about funding.


I own and run a private pre-school, we rely on the Nursery funding and fees of £5 per session to function. My staff are Level 2 + 3 qualified and I am doing a Foundation Degree with University of Worcester. I pay my staff above national minimum wage, with the L3's slighly more.


What with rent, wages, resources etc. How could I afford to pay the thousands required from a graduate?? :o I dont even pay myself that. I have no access to funding from the LEA as I am not in a deprived area, so anything like large equipment or new playground surface I have to fund myself.


Any thoughts??


Aunty Ruby


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This is an ongoing problem which will need addressing. the 10 year strategy will not help groups either - I can already forsee problems for my group if theypropose making some of the changes without increasing the NEG funding significantly. All the EYPCD's are already aware of the implications and will be feeding into the consultation along with this very problem of graduate funding. It certainly cannot be managed at the moment and will need very careful planning but there again they are trying to live in an ideal world - so I think we will all have to watch this space now that the election is over and the government now have to put their money where their mouth is

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I agree Nichola. It will be very interesting to see how this pans out over the next few years. It is going to cost a lot of money and, although they reckon it will take 10 years, I will be surprised if they do it in that time scale. I think it is very ambitious. My only consolation is that I will be turned 60 by then and will have hopefully retired. But i would like to see my pre-school carrying on, I wonder if it will be able to in these circumstances.


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Hi guys

Yes it will be interesting to see what the government have up their sleeves now. I went on the workshop for the new inspection criteria, recently and the speakers were saying that some of the 10 year strategy they want completed in 3!! Mmmm :o we shall see.


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Ruby, I too read the article. When I get time to read and fully digest the "workforce strategy" ( link provided by Steve). I want to "add my bit" to the consultation. ( Will my opinion make a difference?- I hope so)


The point I would like to make ( if the questions enable me to) is that Yes, good quality staff, as research has shown, offer a higher quality of provision. BUT why is this "quality" only measured by "academic" ability.

What "life" experience will these graduates have, who will come off the "Higher Education" production line to meet the numbers required?


What worth has my 20 yrs experience across a multi-agency early years profession? Mother (does that count?), Practitioner, Tutor (higher education level), Early Years Advisor, participation in EYDCP set-up and sub groups, Mature student, and Manager of an Early Years Setting - experience of parents and families from many social economic and cultural backgrounds. My experiences are definately multi-agency having links with Health visitors, Special Needs Units, Local Schools etc etc.



Do I become a graduate to learn something new? I have studied to level 4 ( I have 340 CAT points @ level 1 and 20 CAT points @ level 2 ). But not a degree.


What will I learn? I have the professional integrity to keep up to date with new thinking, government initiatives, and current research.

I am so forward thinking that a book recommended in Practical Preschool ( page 14) "Quality in Diversity" I read in 1998!!! ( and thought it was great then - could of saved Government a lot of time in writing the FSC). I am a "reflective practitioner" I know I can always improve and develop, my learning style however is not through the methods offered by higher adult education. I have learnt how to be a critical thinker, how to research and evaluate, to have an open mind to new ideas and learn from past theorists; and most importantly in these times of continual changes to proceed carefully.


So, my next question is.. Do I become a graduate to "prove" my worth?

How will this make me a better practitioner / manager / childrens advoquate?


The "pay" issue is relevant, unaffordable for Private employers and I think the government too. However, no amount of pay can make me feel valued as a professional unless the above example of very many of us out there, is RECOGNISED.


So how about an Honorary Degree then ? or a system for Accredited Prior Learning (APL) or even better a system for Accreditation beyond learning, with experience ( ABLE - Practitioner)



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Thank you for saving me the time!


EXACTLY my feelings!!, speaking from a similar situation, certainly regarding experience.


It really is very worrying that all this '10 year strategy' stuff may put really erxceptional and worthwhile settings in trouble.


I wait with bated breath......... :o



Sue xD

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Oh Peggy!



I'm behind you and all your capable compatriots!


But look at me - I'm 50. I had a degree that I stopped using (because my family was under threat - it had supported us four - and an ex-husband - for many a year). I'd drifted into EY. I'd been committee for 9-10 yrs, using my leadership and managerial experience. Then ...... what? I'd became a reclusive home worker (writing anonymously for professional journals) - and my only contact with people was was "filling-in" work at pre-school.


I did more and more pre-school. I decided it was what I enjoyed most. I did the IPP. The setting funded me (or was it via EYCEP?). My tutor told me I'd done enough to get the DPP. He he. A year later, I asked the setting if I could do a DPP (my last staff appraisal). Sorry - no funds! I looked at doing it myself, self-funded, distance-learning, all options - and there were so many hurdles.


A year after that, I decided that it was the old profession or the new profession! One or the other. A friendly childminder said to me "why don't you get a proper qualification?" (she'd just completed her level 3). I took that on board. I stole a flyer off the notice board! Open days at OU for EY workers! After that, I was convinced: my way forwards was to get qualified under my own steam.


So here I am. I am a graduate, with management experience. I could have done a 1yr PGTC and I could have been a "teacher". But I have six/seven years EY experience (and now a level 4 qualification) and I am a preschool assistant. I am working towards my EYSEFD. I will, maybe, get there!


I have no fear of graduates entering EY settings (after all, I am one). What matters here (and until all us oldies retire) is that we know what we're doing and that the children are our reason for being here. I wear both hats here - the one that says "awful newcomer who's more qualified that the people who know what they're doing" and the other one that says "I've got experience and I know how to use it". Unfortunately, in my present setting, the only hat I wear is the one that says (in huge bold letters) "Unless you're the leader or the deputy, everyone else is equal, but some are less equal, notably those who never refuse to do whatever any other member of staff tells them to do". Hence, you will see, all staff have a fear of "qualifications".


My co-workers are not allowed to see me working towards my qualification during paid working time. I have to come in as an "extra" (unpaid) to have usable time with children. Since all the other notable staff are in "paid" NVQ2 training, and I'm not, I'm the "gopher". They have break-time with the children while I put away the resources. They do activities with the children while I clean up. They have fun while I shift tables and chairs.


I was sitting with children today, doing things .... the leader came up and said "If you're not doing anything, can you put the computer away?". I put it away, of course, even though I hadn't used it during the session.


Peggy, don't fear graduates! There is no need to do so.


All we have to fear is EY workers who don't understand what children need.



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Lucky to be manager in a pre-school which supports and encourages all staff to train and gain qualifications to reflect their level of practice. more than happy to see staff gain graduate status, can only raise the status of early years work but not at the cost of undermining the excellent quality of staff who choose not to go down this route. We are a voluntary pre-school with nine staff, two doing fd, 3 doing nvq 3, 1 doing nvq 2 so it obviously is not for the pay? :o

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truthfully I do not know :o all I do know is the more I train the more disillusioned I become with the way we seem to be heading towards a system that encourages parents to believe children in care from 8 in the morning to 6 at night, 52 weeks a year is the way to go. I do appreciate the excellent care given to children by the majority of day care nurseries but all the degrees in the world will not make up for the breakdown in our family structures. sorry having a bit of a rant.

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You rant away, Jacqui!


Even though DNs are my bread and butter, I couldn't agree more!!


I'll get off the soapbox before I get started, or we'll be here until the (next) millenium!! :oxD


Sue :D

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Just to put my oar in - again -


We just all need to do what we feel is right. If it works, it is right. And this is what will stand the test of time.


In EY (now and in the future), experience counts, learning is needed (we all do the ongoing stuff) and formal qualifications sometimes help. That's my view and I'm sticking to it!


The government may have great plans - but what the government doesn't know is what we know: a great job is being done by the committed practitioners, regardless of "graduate status". And there are enough of us to make our voices heard.


EY C&E isn't about all parents wanting children off their hands from 8am to 6pm every weekday. The government may want to offer this.


OK. Every mother goes to work and every workplace offers full day care. In the ideal world!!! Pre-schools, nurseries etc. are redundant.


Look at the incentives for childminders .... They do a wonderful job, but differentiation between childminders and sessional/day care settings is diminishing.


Why? Because of this "seamless" government approach - it doesn't matter who's doing it, we've all got to offer the same! Where do children's needs figure? Where does parental choice come into it?


Clearly, parents will still have choices - but choices between......what? Carbon copies in different geographical locations?


What next? Perhaps the way forwards is collectives ... kibbutz-type systems? Nothing wrong with that, but we need huge changes in the social set-up to go down that route.


Sorry, I'm being facetious!


All these policy documents are out there to scare us. Pie-in-the-sky plans are one thing - what works is another.


I believe that the present EY workforce is able to progress under its own steam. Because it always has done. The committed people will stay and will meet all the demands imposed upon it.



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