‘The government’s GCSE requirements are holding back my career’


Millie, one of our bloggers, would love to be able to progress in her career as a nursery assistant. However, the government’s Level 3 GCSE requirements have stopped her from moving forward after completing her Level 2. Here, she shares how she feels about this:

As I have recently found out after completing my NVQ Level 2 in Childcare, the government have changed the guidelines. The government guidelines now require that students have maths and English GCSE at grade C or above in order to be able to study for a Level 3 Childcare apprenticeship qualification.

Before starting my Level 2 qualification this was not the case and it was only when I was near completion of my Level 2 qualification that I became aware of this.

Although I was studying my NVQ Level 2, I was progressing onto the Level 3 role in my day-to-day routine at work. This included planning activities for the week ahead, having my own key children, completing their learning journals and learning the EYFS.

I do find it extremely frustrating that I have the ability to do everything that my colleagues do in their day-to-day job, but because I do not have my C grade in maths, I cannot be Level 3 qualified.

I am passionate about educating young children and I believe I bring many other qualities to my role including: positive thinking, patience, good communication skills and enthusiasm. Despite this, I cannot progress in my chosen career because of the government’s requirements.

I approached several local schools and colleges in order to improve my maths skills and obtain a C grade at GCSE, but because of my age (17) I do not qualify for free tuition.

Maths has always been my weakness, no matter how hard I try. I put so much work and effort towards studying maths. I was one of those people who so much wanted to succeed in getting my C grade but no matter how hard I worked; I could never seem to achieve it. Due to this I lack confidence, it has become a vicious circle of trying to persuade myself that I can do it and believing that I can’t.

People may ask, “Why can you not get a private tutor?”

When I was in school I had a private tutor all the way up until my GCSEs, she did really help me but it still did not get me my C grade that I needed. Also, at thirty pounds an hour, three times a week this is prohibitive for me.

Sadly, my case is not unique and many childcarers are being held back in their career because of the Level 3 GCSE requirements.

I think that bringing back functional skills as equivalent to GCSE grades would be a good idea to help people in my situation, as these would give you the practical English language and maths skills needed to support children with their literacy and numeracy.

I really hope the government reconsiders the GCSE requirements for Level 3 apprenticeships, so that I can move forward with my role and keep doing the job I love.


One thought on “‘The government’s GCSE requirements are holding back my career’

  • June 3, 2016 at 8:06 am

    A lot of people have functional skills in the childcare sector that I know of. So I hope you don’t get rid of them. Government need to let people be at this level. Not everybody is at a very high academic level, able to reach these levels.
    Some people are dyslexic or have dyscalculia this is out of reach.
    We have equality policy into looking after children, what about the practitioners?;
    not everybody learns at the same rate. Some People are discriminated due to having dyslexia and dyscalcuia, should have exceptions in place. You should make a u turn otherwise these settings won’t fulfill required amount of staff. The childcare industry go down the pan no one to look after the children and settings will shut.


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