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“Evidence is clear that a high-quality workforce has a significant impact on the quality of provision and outcomes for children”.
(DfE, 2017)

Early years workforce strategy 2017
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In March 2017, the Department for Education published the Early Years Workforce strategy. The purpose of this strategy was to communicate with the sector department plans in supporting the sector to remove barriers to attracting, retaining and developing the early years workforce. The strategy details how the department intends to support the following areas.

  • Qualification requirements at level 2 and level 3.
  • Specialist graduates.
  • Careers advice.
  • Quality of training.
  • Diversity of the workforce.


An apprenticeship is a job that offers training and supports both personal and career development. Alongside hands-on practical learning in the workplace an apprentice will also be studying to achieve an early years and childcare qualification.

Apprenticeships are available to providers of all sizes, can last anywhere from 12 months to 5 years and are an effective way of establishing a quality workforce and supporting a provider’s succession planning.

Apprenticeships are available to anyone over the age of 16, living in England.

For more information visit the governments dedicated apprenticeship website


The Department for Education sets out the guidelines for qualifications, including how they meet ratios and for those who hold a leadership role, in the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation (September 2021). This is a legal document and must be followed by most providers providing care and education for children in the foundation stage 0 to 5 years. The Department for Education have created a qualification checker for providers to use to ensure that staff have the appropriate qualifications recognised by the Department for Education as being approved. The following link to the qualification checker will enable providers to check the qualifications of their current and prospective staff as part of their recruitment and retention procedures

Please also take note of the following additional guidance:

All newly qualified entrants to the early years workforce who have completed a level 2 and/or level 3 qualification on or after 30 June 2016, must also have either a full Paediatric First Aid (PFA) or an emergency PFA certificate within three months of starting work in order to be included in the required staff:child ratios at level 2 or level 3 in an early years setting.

If you have an overseas qualification you will need for this to be recognised as a full and relevant qualification. You can find out more on the UK ENIC website - the UK National Information Centre for the recognition and evaluation of international qualifications and skills.

UK NARIC is the designated United Kingdom national agency for the recognition and comparison of international qualifications and skills. It performs this official function on behalf of the UK Government.

Quality supplement

Research has shown that a highly qualified workforce can influence better outcomes for children, KCC recognise and value this and therefore include an additional quality supplement as part of the funding paid to providers.

This additional payment is given to providers where there is a member of staff with a qualified teacher status, early years teacher or early years professional qualification. Criteria for accessing this supplement is detailed in the Kent Provider Agreement where it states:

  1. To be in receipt of the quality supplementary rate, a setting must have a nominated leader with either Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) (as defined by the Department for Education or Early Years Professional Status (EYPS) or Early Years Teacher Status (EYTS). The leader must be directly employed by the setting and must significantly influence the learning of all children within the setting so that the quality of teaching is consistently strong, all children make good progress and develop the key skills needed for the next steps in their learning, including for starting school. The qualified leader may hold a full time or part-time permanent contract.
  2. Work at the setting 75% of the total funded hours per week with 50% of these hours spent leading the learning experience by working directly with the children.There is supplementary funding for those providers who can meet the above criteria plus, employ their staff on school teachers’ pay, terms and conditions.Providers are required to declare their eligibility for the qualified leadership supplement termly, three time per academic year (we shall continue to ask childminders to declare their eligibility annually in February).

Recruitment Hub
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A well-qualified and skilled Early Years workforce is essential to ensure you effectively deliver the EYFS and provide the best possible outcomes for children in Kent.

Finding the right member of staff is even more challenging in today’s competitive environment.  In order to support you, The Education People have created ‘The Recruitment Hub’ - a central location for Early Years employers to advertise their vacancies and for candidates to search, either for their first role in the sector or to further their career.

Free of charge and easy to use, The Recruitment Hub is proving to be a very popular resource and, alongside the jobs board, offers a wealth of information for settings and job-seekers about the recruitment journey.

The Recruitment Hub is the place to come if you are an individual seeking a new job, or an employer looking to recruit in the Early Years and Childcare sector.

Contact details
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Early Years Workforce

Early Years and Childcare Service
Telephone: 03301 65 11 11