Children in Essex benefit from EYPS accreditation

Published: 16 May 2013 at 09:55

New Anglia Ruskin report demonstrates impact of Early Years Professional Status

Research by Anglia Ruskin University has shown that the Early Years Professional Status (EYPS) has had a positive impact on children, staff and parents across Essex since its introduction six years ago.

Graduate leaders have been part of the early years workforce in England since 2007 when the Government introduced a new professional accreditation (EYPS) for graduates who have demonstrated a set criteria of professional standards.

The impact of these graduate leaders has been studied by Dr Geraldine Davis and Tricia Capes of Anglia Ruskin’s Faculty of Health, Social Care and Education, and the final report from the research, funded by Essex County Council, has now been published.  

This study is one of the few to assess the impact of EYPS staff on the five Every Child Matters outcomes (Being Healthy; Staying Safe; Enjoying and Achieving; Making a Positive Contribution and Achieving Economic Wellbeing) designed to underpin the early years settings, which include childminders, nurseries, pre-schools and voluntary groups. 

Data was collected through surveys, interviews, focus groups and through evaluation of Ofsted reports.  Over half of the EYPS population in Essex took part in the surveys, while 20 Early Years Professionals (EYPs) participated in qualitative interviews or focus groups.

The research found that the EYPS has had a positive impact on children, parents and staff and there was a strong, positive correlation between the employment of EYPs and higher Ofsted ratings.  This study suggests that EYPs lead practice not only by working directly with children, but also by working with parents, families and staff.

Many EYPs could see real benefits in terms of their confidence and ability to enact change, both in their early years setting and the children’s home environment.  The EYPs said that their extra training better enabled them to explain how to transfer learning into a home environment, and so had a positive impact on parents, as well as children and colleagues.

Dr Davis said:

“The rich data provided by the participants demonstrates that EYPs are motivated, energetic and fully engaged in driving forward changes to improve outcomes for children.  They do this through engaging with their staff, with parents and with the wider professional team.
“Where it is possible to measure improvement, for example through the Ofsted inspection reports, it is very clear that the presence of an EYP is linked to higher achievement of that setting against measured outcomes.
“All practitioners considered that EYPS had empowered them, giving them confidence in their ability to initiate and carry through changes.  EYPs did not, however, consider that the work they were doing was recognised by other professionals.  The status of EYPS was not understood by those outside the settings, for example school teachers.”

From September this year the EYPS will be replaced with a BA (Hons) Early Years Teacher qualification, to help improve professional recognition for the sector.  However, Dr Davis believes that improved pay and conditions are needed, as well as Qualified Teacher Status (QTS), if the sector wants to improve its standing with the wider public.

“In light of the move to Early Years Teacher there needs to be a change in how the sector is funded and organised if professionals are to remain in the sector, as professional recognition is not enough,”

said Dr Davis.  

“Remuneration is identified as a significant factor in equity of status with teachers.  The Truss report (2013) addresses the issue of the name of EYPS, and the move to the title of Early Years Teacher, which is expected to be valued and recognised by other professionals as well as parents and families and the general public.
“The status of EYPS in the eyes of the public and other professionals needs to be addressed, so that there is greater awareness of the significant role these professionals have in improving outcomes for children.  Changing the name is likely to have a positive effect on status.  Recognition through agreed pay and conditions for the sector is also required.”