WQ85506 (w) Tabled on 13/06/2022

What steps is the Minister taking to ensure that there are sufficient courses to train childcare staff to ensure that they have a Level 3 qualification in children's play by September 2022?

Answered by Deputy Minister for Social Services | Answered on 22/06/2022

Our National Minimum Standards (NMS) set out the qualification requirements for all staff working in regulated settings delivering childcare for children up to the age of 12 years old. 

In 2017 we determined that for those settings caring for children aged 8-12, a proportion of staff would require both childcare and play qualifications, and this should be achieved by September 2021.  This was first communicated to the sector in 2017 via a circular letter WGC 006/2017 with a reminder letter issued in January 2020.  However, the initial deadline was extended by 12 months to September 2022 in recognition of the impact of COVID-19.  The extension was outlined in a letter to the sector in January 2021.

Clybiau Plant Cymru Kids Clubs, Play Wales and the Playwork Education and Training Council Wales (PETC Wales) share this commitment and have advised Welsh Government that the September 2022 deadline should remain.  There are, therefore, no plans to amend the deadline at this time.

Support has been in place throughout to help settings and staff access and undertake the qualifications they need in order to meet the deadline of September 2022.

The Welsh Government and ESF funded Progress for Success Programme was developed specifically to support practitioners to gain the necessary qualifications to meet the deadline.  Progress for Success funds a range of short and longer play qualifications to support practitioners at varying levels to achieve the qualifications they need to meet the requirement. 

Training providers funded by Progress for Success have advised that there are places available on courses and that they are proactively working with the sector to support them to overcome any training barriers and help them enrol.

Clybiau Plant Cymru Kids Clubs are embarking on an exercise to reach out to clubs whose staff have not yet achieved the required qualifications, to work through their needs and meet demand. 

Intensive courses will be held over the summer with the potential to provide these across Wales, as well as in Welsh, should there be the demand.

Alongside the work on play qualifications specifically, we are committed to increasing Welsh medium childcare and playwork provision, as has been illustrated by our investment to date both through Mudiad Meithrin and the National Centre for Learning Welsh. One of the aims of Cymraeg 2050 is to expand early years Welsh medium provision as an entry point to Welsh medium education. This includes supporting the creation of 150 more nursery groups by 2027-28.  We are working with Clybiau Plant Cymru Kids Clubs to explore specific support for growing the provision of Welsh medium after school clubs.

Welsh Government funding of Mudiad Methrin supports the provision of Welsh medium childcare courses and courses to strengthen Welsh language skills in the childcare workforce.

Within the Progress for Success programme, we are working with the National Centre for Learning Welsh to support practitioners with the aim of significantly increasing their language skills and giving them the confidence to use more Welsh with the children in their settings as part of their day-to-day provision.

Looking specifically at the challenges for Welsh medium provision, the Welsh Government will be undertaking analytical work to assess the current profile of services, and to provide projections for the size and profile of the Welsh medium workforce over the next 5 years.

Work to support the Welsh medium childcare sector is being carried out in collaboration with Sian Gwenllian, the Plaid Cymru designated member, as part of the Co-operation Agreement between the Welsh Government and Plaid Cymru.

We will shortly be consulting on changes to our National Minimum Standards. One of these relates to the whether or not of staff within full day care settings that are working towards qualifications can be included in the wider staffing ratios. As part of that we will also be seeking views on whether or not to make a similar change in respect of other settings such as these clubs.