From April 2015 Ofsted will inspect early years initial teacher training providers which provide training for those working with children up to five years of age. This is part of a drive to help raise standards in nurseries and early years settings.
Early years teacher status was created in September 2013. Early years teachers are graduates who provide leadership in nurseries and a range of other early years settings. They have to meet the same entry requirements as those applying to become primary school teachers. In all, there are approximately 40 accredited providers of qualified teacher status providing this early years initial teacher training at higher education institutions and school-centred initial teacher training across England.
Ofsted currently inspects initial teacher training in the primary, secondary, and further education phases. However, this is the first time that early years initial teacher training will be inspected.
Jo Morgan, Ofsted’s National Director for Initial Teacher Education, said:
Early years teachers have a very important role. They help to create a culture in which young children can learn through play, and begin to get used to a structured day. This means they will be more ready to learn when they begin primary school.
As Ofsted’s early years annual report identified, young children’s progress depends on the quality of early education and childcare they receive.
It is crucial then that early years teacher training is of the highest quality possible. I am confident that these inspections will help to enhance the quality of training for early years teachers. In turn this will help ensure young children get the best start in life.
Ofsted will update the Initial Teacher Education (ITE) inspection handbook before it begins to inspect early years initial teacher training providers in April. The early years initial teacher training phase will be subject to the same two-stage process, as in other phases, whereby inspectors will check on the quality of training and the trainees’ teaching in the summer term. There will be a second stage in the autumn term when inspectors will see how well early years teachers were prepared by their training to teach in a range of early years settings where they work.