Status boost for early-years staff

I write in response to Professor Colin Richards' concern, that the early-years' professional "qualification" lacks rigour ("12 weeks to be a professional", TES, July 14).

The status is not a qualification, it accredits through rigorous assessment the academic and practical expertise that early-years staff have worked hard to acquire - and which has not, until now, been sufficiently acknowledged. It will be richly deserved by those who attain it.

A typical candidate will have an early childhood studies honours degree and at least two years' experience of working with children aged up to 5.

Its demanding standards mean that EYPS has parity with qualified teacher status although it is not the same. In fact, many teachers who have done a BA (QTS) in education will not have sufficient expertise to achieve EYP status without considerable further training and experience.

I urge Professor Richards to view the EYPS pilot standards at www.cwdcouncil.org.uk, which have been published since his letter appeared.

I am sure this will give him confidence that, far from being low status, EYPS is demanding. Moreover, I hope that Professor Richards will see that, rather than being given a high status they do not deserve, the new early-years professionals are finally receiving long-overdue recognition for their vitally important work in securing the foundations of success for all other education professionals and those with whom they work.

Jane Murray Senior lecturer in education School of Education University of Northampton Boughton Green Road Northampton

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