Hevey, D., Lumsden, E. and Moxon, S. (2007) Developing the early years workforce: student perceptions of the Sure Start-Endorsed Early Years Foundation Degree. Paper presented to: Centre for Early Childhood Development and Education International Conference (CECDE) 'Vision into Practice’ Making Quality a Reality in the Lives of Young Children, Dublin, Ireland, 8-10 February 2007.
Promoting an holistic approach for children in the early years (Department of Education and Skills, 2004) and developing a highly trained and competent workforce (Department of Education and Skills, 2005) underpins current policy initiatives in England. The Early Years Sector-Endorsed Foundation Degree supports this development. This paper reports on ongoing qualitative research into the impact of the degree on the professional and personal lives of students at one university. The impact on the first two cohorts was immediately visible; with nearly two thirds extending their studies further by joining the BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies degree at the institution. Students have reported increased confidence, knowledge and improved professional practice. Evidence suggests that if the impact of these is not to be lost, the British Government needs to ensure that employment opportunities and pay scales appropriately reflect the investment made.