New degree course in childcare at Fife College
The past 16 months have been challenging for us all, and that includes young children and their families. The struggle of juggling childcare, home-schooling and work has thrown a spotlight on the importance of education and having well-qualified professionals in place to deliver it.
It has been a particularly difficult time for families with pre-school children who were used to socialising and learning through play in nursery or with a childminder.
How COVID-19 has impacted the perceptions and experiences of parents and carers of the under-fives was one of the areas explored by The Duchess of Cambridge in the biggest ever UK study on the early years. (State of The Nation: Understanding Public Attitudes to the Early Years. Nov. 2020). The findings are a vital source of information for the early years sector and clearly show that investing in the early years has economic, social and psychological benefits for our society.
However, the study also showed that only 25 per cent of adults understand the importance of the period from conception up to the age of five in securing health and happiness in childhood, but also importantly into adulthood. It is for these reasons that ensuring the early years sector has well trained professionals working within it is so important.
The current national agenda in the early years places considerable emphasis on raising the profile and quality of work undertaken in the sector, within education, health and care. The reform of the Children’s Workforce over the past decade has led to the need for highly qualified and motivated graduates with knowledge and understanding of the multi-disciplinary nature of working with young children and their families, as well as the importance of quality partnerships with parents and other agencies.
More staff needed
In Scotland all eligible children will benefit from at least 1,140 hours of funded early learning and childcare from this August. With this comes a need to train and recruit more degree-qualified staff to meet the staffing demands for the expansion.
Fife College is keen to do all they can to provide individuals with the skills they need to progress within this sector, which is why, in partnership with Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh, they have introduced a new BA (Hons): Childhood Practice degree.
The BA (Hons): Childhood Practice is a work-based, professional qualification for those who are already working as Early Years’ Practitioners in Scotland. You don’t need to be based in Fife to apply, as the majority of the course is delivered online, via fully supported, work-based, part-time study.
Degree in two years
This course, which you could complete over two years to gain the degree or over four years to achieve the honours degree, is perfectly suited to people who need a degree-level qualification to help advance their career in management and leadership within early years’ practice. Students who successfully complete the BA (Hons): Childhood Practice would be able to register as managers or lead practitioners in Scotland.
It is vitally important that we have the professionals in place to ensure that all families can access high-quality childcare and be supported through these crucial early years to prepare children for a healthy and happy adulthood.
Kay Fraser, Faculty Director for Care, Social Sciences and Education at Fife College, said: “This new degree has the potential to help transform the opportunities of those working in the childcare industry.
"Childcare is a key sector, and at Fife College we’re eager to do all we can to provide individuals with the skills they need to progress within it.
"This degree course gives individuals the chance to reskill or upskill. Not only will this help those working in the sector, but it will also have a hugely positive impact on young children across the country.
"This is just one of the ways in which our partnership with Queen Margaret University is helping people, and we look forward to working with them to train the next generation of childcare professionals.”
Visit the Fife College website to find out more about the BA (Hons): Childhood Practice degree