New Level 2 Trailblazer group announced as sector-wide consultation opens

A new Level 2 Early Years Trailblazer group has been announced alongside a sector-wide consultation which launches today.

The group will be tasked with creating an apprenticeship standard for early years practitioners. The consultation will gather views from the sector to ensure that the Level 2 standard is developed to meet the training needs of the sector and raise the quality of early years provision across the country. 

The consultation, which opens today, can be accessed here: 

The aim of the Level 2 Apprenticeship is to create a pipeline to support unqualified childcare staff to progress their careers, enabling early years settings to offer high quality provision at every level to the children in their care. 

The Early Years Alliance’s director of quality improvement, Michael Freeston, has been named as the group’s employer chair. He will be joined by sector representatives from CACHE, Kids Planets Day Nurseries, Kids Allowed, London Early Years Foundation, Each Peach Childcare, Paint Pots Nursery, Happy Tree Ltd, Just Childcare Ltd, Childbase Partnership, Ashbourne Day Nurseries and Sky High Achievers. 

Employer chair for the trailblazer group, Michael Freeston, commented:

“It’s excellent news that the Level 3 Early Years Standard is now operational. But if we want a high quality workforce Level 3 can only be part of the picture: it’s essential that the Level 2 Standard is in place by September this year. This trailblazer group will be made up of a wide range of employers and other organisations to ensure the new standard meets the needs of the sector as a whole and I encourage all involved with workforce development in our sector to respond to the consultation.”

Julie Hyde, CACHE Director, said:

“The Level 2 Early Years Practitioner apprenticeship standard will be a key driver in improving the recruitment and retention of high quality practitioners in the sector. It’s been identified that gaps in sector specific skills were highest for staff qualified to Level 2 or below, by developing this standard with the needs of employers at the forefront, we can overcome these challenges and provide a clear progression route for practitioners. 

“This consultation presents the sector with a real opportunity to ensure that the standard is fit for purpose and meets the needs of employers and practitioners. I therefore encourage all within the sector to take part and have their say.”

The consultation will be undertaken by the Trailblazer group, which was appointed at the invitation of Institute for Apprentices and Technical Education (IfATE). 



About the Early Years Alliance

  • The Early Years Alliance is the largest and most representative early years membership organisation in England. A registered educational charity, it also provides high-quality affordable childcare and education to support children and families in areas of deprivation throughout the country.
  • The Alliance represents 14,000 member settings and supports them to deliver care and learning to more than 800,000 families every year. We deliver family learning projects, offer information and advice, produce specialist publications, run acclaimed training programmes and campaign to influence early years policy and practice.
  • The Alliance website is