Article 9 out of 18

Should Early Years Teachers have Qualified Teacher Status?


Professor Cathy Nutbrown, head of the School of Education at Sheffield University

Elizabeth Truss, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Education and Childcare

Poll: Should Early Years Teachers have Qualified Teacher Status?

YES - they should have parity with primary and secondary school teachers

NO - it isn't necessary

To view the results of the poll, you need to vote!


Professor Nutbrown wrote the Nutbrown Review, which called for an increase in the number of qualified teachers with specialist early years knowledge.

She has said she is “disappointed” with the proposals in ‘More Great Childcare’ which was intended to be a response to her report ‘Foundations of Quality’, which says there will be Early Years Teachers but without Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).

She wanted Early Years Teachers to have qualified teacher status and be on the same level as primary and secondary school teachers. But she has found the Early Years Teachers proposed by the Government will not have QTS nor will they follow a PGCE course so they will not have the same status as school teachers.

“Because my recommendation on QTS was not accepted, the hoped for parity with primary and secondary school teachers will not be realised,” says Professor Nutbrown, who fears it will create a “two-tier status for ‘teachers’”.

“So how will the Early Years Teacher feel when told that she or he cannot teach children in Year 1 because they are not sufficiently qualified to do so? And how will they feel about the investments they have made in their qualifications when they realise they cannot achieve the kinds of promotions open to teachers of older children? And why is the title ‘teacher' being used to mean something quite different from the commonly understood, established and accepted meaning. This reaches deep into the heart of the culture and nomenclature of UK practice.

“So yet again, babies, toddlers, young children and their families, have to be content with something different, something that is ‘not quite’ the same in the status as that offered to older pupils and students in the education system, something confused and confusing.

“The question as to why those working with children in these challenging and complex years of early development and of learning, should be less well qualified and afforded a lower professional status than those teaching older children remains unanswered.”


In the Government’s report ‘More Great Childcare’, Elizabeth Truss said “we will introduce graduate-level Early Years Teachers specifically trained to teach young children. The Effective Provision of Pre-School Education Project – known as the EPPE report – showed that children make much better progress in pre-school centres where trained teachers are present.”

She added: “We will introduce Early Years Teachers to build upon the strengths of the Early Years Professionals programme.

The Early Years Professionals, a role introduced in 2007 was designed to improve the quality of early education and Ms Truss says EYPs have helped but “public recognition of their status remains low.”

Early Years Teachers will specialise in early childhood development and meet the same entry requirements and pass the same skills tests as trainee school teachers.

‘More Great Childcare’ says: ‘We want to raise the status of the profession so that more high quality graduates consider a career in early education.

There are already courses for graduates leading to Early Years Professional Status, but we want to go further. We will introduce Early Years Teachers to build upon the strengths of the Early Years Professional Status programme.

Existing Early Years Professionals will be recognised as the equivalent of Early Years Teachers. Early Years Teachers will be specialists in early childhood development trained to work with babies and young children.

We will start training the first Early Years Teachers from September 2013. We will improve the existing standards for Early Years Professionals so that they more closely match the Teaching Standards for classroom teachers. Early Years Teachers will have to meet the same entry requirements as primary classroom trainee teachers – at least a C grade in English, maths and science at GCSE.’

However the new Early Years Teachers will not have Qualified Teacher Status like primary and secondary school teachers as the report says ‘there is a need to transform the status of the profession’ but ‘we do not, however, consider, a route to the award of QTS necessary to do this’.


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Julie Dervey

Julie Dervey

26 Jul 2013 1:05 PM

Teachers of young children do not need academic degrees. – They need skills and knowledge about: child development; attachment theories; how to motivate young children to become effective life-long learners; how to develop and nurture personal, social and emotional well-being; parent partnerships, multi-agency interactions; how to adapt provision to provide interventions to make practice inclusive, etc.- These skills are developed through intensive and specific early years training. I am an EYP (now known as an EYT) and feel the current situation is unacceptable and damaging to the entire Early Years sector!

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Sophie Mae Smith

14 Apr 2016 11:58 AM

@ Julie Dervey 26 Jul 2013 1:05 PM


Chris Forbes

Chris Forbes

23 Jun 2013 12:56 PM

Our children are entitled to the best education we can provide. The EPPE project, as mentioned by the minister herself, highlights the benefits of having a qualified teacher working with all pre school children. The project was lengthy and involved and continues through various means of monitoring and assessing effective learning. This surely speaks volumes about quality of learning for our children.

People entering teaching should expect and receive the qualifications they aspire to. The philosophy and training should provide insight and understanding how children learn and develop at all ages and stages in their life. QTS status is vital to all people for all ages of children. A hierarchy through age groups is not acceptable. How will the best be encouraged in both genders to undertake teacher training if this happens? Emphasis on quality has raised all expectations with in the early years. Foundations are crucial.