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Criteria for Level 2 qualifications updated

By Rachel Lawler
Child playing with bubbles
The Department for Education (DfE) has published its response to the consultation on criteria for level 2 childcare qualifications.
Key changes
The DfE says it will now be removing the word ‘assistant’ from the title, changing it to: ‘level 2 practitioner’. It says it will also remove references to 'curriculum', using the more accurate 'statutory guidance' instead.
The safeguarding criteria has also been strengthened to cover types of abuse, legal requirements and an explanation of the practitioner's role in safeguarding measures.
The communication section has been strengthened to include children with ‘delayed speech’ and the involvement of parents in planning/assessment for special education needs and disabilities (SEND) has been strengthened.
Oral hygiene and dental care have also been added to the ‘health and safety’ and ‘wellbeing’ sections - updated from the previous 'health and safety' and 'health and welfare' sections, where some duplication was noted.
The 12-week online consultation on the changes closed on 28 February 2018 after receiving 164 responses. The DfE also met with groups of employer and practitioners and its expert reference group (ERG) to discuss the proposals.
Welcome development
Velda Bartholomew, training operations manager at the Alliance, said: “The development of robust and comprehensive Level 2 qualification criteria is vital to providing a solid basis on which early years practitioners can prepare for a career in early years, and so we welcome steps taken by government to strengthen the proposed criteria in several key areas, such as safeguarding, parental involvement and SEND support.
Consultation feedback
“With this qualification playing such an important role in recruitment and retention in the sector, we’re also pleased that the government has decided to replace the proposed title of ‘Level 2 assistant’ with ‘Level 2 practitioner’ in response to consultation feedback.
“Of course, this is only one part of building a high quality early years workforce, and with the recent decision to scrap early years graduate proposals, it remains to be seen how much progress will be made on the implementation of the early years workforce strategy as a whole. Nevertheless, the development of this new qualification, which will provide learners with the skills and understanding they need to support the delivery of high-quality care and education in the early years sector, is a welcome and positive step.”

Next steps
These new criteria will be used by awarding organisations to develop new qualifications available from September 2019 onwards.
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