The Department for Education has doubled the size of its early years apprenticeship bursary to £3,000, to encourage the participation of high-quality individuals.
Two hundred people taking part in early years apprenticeship programmes will benefit from the increase as well as from the availability of a further £300 for training and education. The bursaries, which were first announced in May, will be available to people in apprenticeship programmes focused on early years education, which is today’s equivalent of the nursery nurse diploma from the past. The double bursaries will be distributed among the first 200 successful applicants to the scheme.
Eligible candidates will have an apprentice position at a nursery, school nursery or children’s centre that provides early learning places for two-year-olds. Candidate should have at least GCSE grade C or above in English and mathematics. The scheme is managed by the National College for Teaching and Leadership, and is already open to applicants. Apprenticeships are expected to last an average of 20 months and involve both work and training to provide participants with recognised qualifications through various channels, including colleges for further education.
In its official statement, the DfE said that having qualified and highly skilled early years educators is the best way to avoid the emergence of a gap in educational attainment between children who are socially disadvantaged and those from wealthy backgrounds. Quality care in the early years will ensure higher standards and provide children with the best possible start in life.