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Coronavirus (COVID-19): apprenticeship programme response
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This document sets out guidance for apprentices, employers, training providers and assessment organisations in response to the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19).

“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 DfE 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 (March 2017). This is a legal document and must be followed by most providers providing care and education for children in the foundation stage 0-5 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 full and relevant. 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:

For qualifications started after September 2014 (statutory guidance section 3.23)

To count in the ratios at level 3, staff holding an Early Years Educator qualification must also have achieved a suitable level 2 qualification in English and maths as defined by the Department for Education on the Early Years Qualifications List.

For qualifications completed on and after 30 June 2016 (statutory guidance section 3.25)

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 NARIC website.

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 in section 15.2:

  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).

Further information can be found in the Kent Provider Agreement (PDF, 398.3 KB).

Contact Details
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Early Years Workforce

Early Years and Childcare Service
Telephone: 03000 41 23 23