Viewpoint

Value Your EYP

With Early Years Professional Status (EYPS) in the news again for good reasons (supported by the Tickell Review) and not so good reasons (Providers lose their licence), the debate has once again opened on the value of the Status and its role in Early Childhood Education.

Early Years Professional Status was conceived after the Effective Provision of Preschool Education (EPPE) research found that a ‘graduate led workforce’ gave demonstrably better outcomes for children in preschool settings. However, since then the authors of the EPPE research have produced a book (Early Childhood Matters, evidence from the Effective Pre-school and Primary Education project, 2010 Sylva et al.) which clearly states that they had intended the Early Years to be led by qualified teachers (pages 19/20). They declare the current situation a ‘muddle in provision’ being followed by a ‘muddle in training’.

This leaves the dilemma of what role does an EYP fulfil?

Over the last 3 years or so I have met many EYPs. The vast majority are dedicated, passionate, enthusiastic and inspiring professionals. It is hard to say whether these people would be like this anyway, or if it is as a result of becoming EYPs.

But in most cases this is irrelevant.

The Status has given them the validation of being a Professional. Something to prove their dedication to Early Years to parents, Ofsted and other professionals. Although at the beginning EYPS was heralded as being equivalent to teacher status, (a strong contender for the ‘most regretted phrased ever used by the CWDC’ award) the terms and conditions and pay have never been equivalent and could never hope to be in a sector dominated by private and voluntary companies.

The Status has given them a way of combining the theoretical element of a Degree with proof that they can apply this to practice. This is to the benefit of the children and their families.

The Status has given them a way to identify and meet like minded Professionals. The EYP networks, Forum sites such as www.eyps.info and EYP Conferences enable EYPs to support each other, driving good practice forward.

There are now over 7,000 EYPs in England, implementing, encouraging and supporting good practice in every sort of Early Years setting. The Tickell review has clearly endorsed the ‘higher level qualifications such as EYPS’ (Tickell Review, p. 45), but it also suggests that further consultations are required on qualifications.

Does this mean that the 7,000 current EYPs would need to re-train again? If so, who is going to provide the training? Or maybe this will just be for graduates with non Early Years qualifications, as the New Leader course?

Whilst we wait to see which Universities will be awarded the licence for providing EYPS, and whilst the public consultation for the EYFS is still underway, let’s enjoy the calm, take a minute and value the great work that our EYPs do.

Note

Since then, there have been a number of updates to the Standards, requirements and Government policy.  The Early Years Professional Status has been replaced with a new Status – Early Years Teacher Status – which still has 8 Standards, but you now have to hold GCSE maths, English and science to do the course.

In addition, you have to pass the professional skills tests. You can find out more information from the Government website here

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11 Comments
  • Alison Moore Sep 25,2016 at 10:54 pm

    Confused! I was about to advertise for EYPS am I supposed to advertise for EYPS? What is the advised salary scale

    • Kathy Sep 25,2016 at 11:16 pm

      Hi Alison, thanks for your comment. It’s hard to believe that this post is now five years old – and there are still more changes to the Standards and pathways/routes. Currently (Sept 2016) the status is Early Years Teacher Status (technically all EYPs automatically became Early Years Teachers). There is still no advised salary scale and I’ve not seen a government endorsed job description.

  • Sally Aug 5,2015 at 5:56 pm

    As someone who has worked and gained the Early Years degree through the open University and would love to continue on to become an EYP, I’m feeling a little perplexed to read about the qualification changes! I’m not as yet in a position to continue training as I’ve taken on a management role in a private nursery and want to continue with improvements and consistencies which I’ve developed over the last year and gained a Good Ofsted inspection with earlier this year from it. I have overcome many hurdles to reach the level I am. I wonder how much more can change??

    • Kathy Aug 14,2015 at 2:34 pm

      Well done on your ‘Good’ Ofsted Sally!
      I share your frustrations with qualification changes – it seems that they are announced with little notice and even less thought about how it will affect Early Years Teachers or those thinking about doing the Status. Hopefully common sense will prevail soon so we can get on with the job at hand!

  • Maria Bennett Jun 9,2015 at 8:36 am

    I am an EYP and have worked in many EY settings. The simple truth is EYPs are underpaid and undervalued, quite often even unable to struggle against the restrictions posed on them (financial or otherwise) from owners/managers .

    • Kathy Jun 9,2015 at 9:30 am

      Hi Maria,
      Many thanks for your comment. Sadly, I would agree that the situation is not good for dedicated practitioners who have worked hard for the Status (often on their time and at their own expense).
      I don’t know if things will improve now the Early Years Teacher Status is in place. We will have to see!
      Thanks again,
      Kathy

  • Tracy Butterfield Aug 20,2011 at 11:10 am

    I understand your point of view, Linda and applaud the fact that you are paying your staff the salary they obviously deserve. At the same time I agree with Kathy’s comment about Private settings paying less as I am working in such a setting where the owner wishes to keep the payroll costs as low as possible. This does have an effect on the staff, but with effective encouragement and motivation from the Manager and myself as Deputy. I am currently undertaking EYPS, with Assessmentin November, and hope to garner a pay rise once I have achieved the status, as it has a substantial beneficial effect on the setting as well as for my professional and personal development. Whatever happens to the status in the future it should continue to inspire and improve practitioners and settings alike.

    • kathyadmin Aug 20,2011 at 5:10 pm

      Dear Tracy,

      Many thanks for your comments and best of luck with the assessment!

      I’d totally agree that part of the EYP’s role is being inspirational and motivational, which may not be easy in the current economic and changeable climate.

      Keep up the good work

      Kathy

  • Lorraine Woodall Jul 16,2011 at 10:03 pm

    I am an early years teacher and my daughter is an EYP. I can see that she puts as much into her role as I do but our pay is vastly different. I know her setting values her but is just not in the position to pay a comparable salary.

  • Linda Davies Jul 13,2011 at 10:34 pm

    I notice you are following me on twitter – I am very new to this ‘arena’ and really do not have a clue how it all works at this time. However, I have followed one of your links and found this article.

    As the owner of Saplings Nursery, I am not quite sure of the tone expressed in the following sentence contained in the above article “the terms and conditions and pay have never been equivalent and could never hope to be in a sector dominated by private and voluntary companies.” I would like to think that I am mistaken in thinking that once again the implication is that the private sector ethos is intent on under-mining the value of an EYP by not paying them the local authority salary equivalent.

    As a qualified nurse, midwife, health visitor and ex-lecturer in early years, I embarked on opening a private nursery to prove that a quality provision could be found in the private sector. So, I entered the sector with the belief that it was possible to provide a quality provision in the early years, treat staff fairly both professionally and economically by providing them with a decent salary that they so deserved. Saplings began in 1998 and despite the many changes over the years and the inequalities within the early years sector as a whole, it has managed to provide a high standard of care for the families who seek child care and at the same time give staff ‘an above average’ salary in the sector – but it is far from easy!

    Believe me when I say that balancing the books when you prioritise and value your staff is the most difficult job I have ever had! When you then add in the various other inequalities between the private and maintained sector that still exists, plus the benefits of financial stability in cash flow terms that exists in the maintained sector for example – life is tough for the private provider who values their staff, parents and children and provides the service at great cost to themselves. I guess I just now need to get lucky and win the lottery – because it seems to me that the odds on winning are greater and possibly the only way to secure the financial future for the ‘quality’ private sector provider.

    • Kathy Brodie Jul 14,2011 at 8:57 am

      Dear Linda,

      Thank you very much for your comment, great to hear from you.

      The comment about terms and conditions was intended to be a general one and in no way derogatory. The simple fact is that businesses are different to local authorities. Businesses, of course, are subject to market forces. Sadly, in my experience, this means that the vast majority of nurseries cannot pay the same as a teacher’s salary.

      I would argue that quality provision is not necessarily guaranteed with a large pay packet. In fact some of the most dedicated, hard working professionals I have had the pleasure to meet are on the lowest pay, and if you worked out their pay per hour they would be way below the minimum wage. It’s really uplifting to hear of settings who are able to pay a ‘decent salary’, not just because its possible, but because its the right thing to do.

      That’s really my point. There are thousands of EYPs out there who are working not for the money, or pensions or paid holidays, but because they love the job, value the children and are passionate about making a difference. Whilst still providing quality, and often, Outstanding provision.

      It could be that the Status will be undergoing some changes (I’m old enough to remember Senior Practitioners, pre-Foundation Degrees). Before that happens, let’s not forget the hard work and energy that our EYPs bring to our settings every day.

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