On Thursday morning, the long-awaited results of GCSE examinations will be revealed. For most, these results will affect important future life choices such as doing A-Levels or going to university.
But it’s not just schoolchildren who will be anxiously waiting for these results, as Purnima Tanuku OBE, Chief Executive of National Day Nurseries Association, explains:
“Across the country, hundreds of nursery practitioners will be finding out if they can progress from a level two to a level three, or even to degree level as a result of sitting their GCSE maths or English exams.
“And many more young apprentices will be counting on getting at least a grade C in maths and English to complete their two-year level three apprenticeships in Early Years.
“That their career progression is stalled by getting a minimum grade in both maths and English is a huge concern among our members, who are struggling to recruit qualified early years professionals.”
Since the GCSE requirements were introduced by the Department for Education in 2014, they have become a major barrier to applicants, with application numbers dropping. Nurseries have been struggling to fill staffing vacancies as a result.
Karen Veitch, Nursery Leader at Emerald Nursery and Children’s Centres in County Durham and NDNA trustee, said: “We decided to support several of our team in being able to take either a GCSE maths or English course this year, after we identified that not having the pass grade was really holding them back from progressing from level 2 to 3 or in being able to do higher qualifications.
“We arranged special evening classes for them, with tutors from Derwentside College. Claire Fletcher, our Nursery Leader, took on the difficult task and was fantastic in liaising with the college to get the courses underway last autumn.
“We are keeping everything crossed for a positive result for our staff for Thursday.
“We are so proud of them for doing this, especially as it is such a big commitment when you are working during the day and have family commitments as well.”
Last year, 63.3% of GCSE entries were awarded an A*-C grade in maths and 65.4% gained an A*-C grade in English.
Charlotte Renwick, 20, from Emerald Nurseries, who is involved in the NDNA Champions programme, already has her level 3 qualification. She said: “I just missed out on my GCSE at school by a few marks and I will be over the moon if I pass on Thursday. I think it will help in my work here at nursery and I need the GCSEs to progress to my level 5 and 6 degree.”