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Monday, 23 January 2017

New qualifications and investigations into early childhood announced in Wales

Written by The Editorial Team

In late 2016, new plans for the Welsh healthcare landscape were announced by Qualification Wales and The National Assembly for Wales' Children, Young People and Education Committee. These detailed the introduction of new qualifications and a consultation looking at the first 1000 days of a child's life.

The first 1,000 days, spanning from pregnancy to the child's second birthday, are a critical window of time that have an enormous impact on their intellectual development and lifelong health.

With development of the new qualifications beginning later this year and the consultation launching imminently, here is a simple guide to the changes:

What are the new qualifications?

Qualification Wales will work with stakeholders to develop a suite of new Health & Social Care and Childcare qualifications for Welsh learners aged 14 and above. These will aim to reduce complexity, raise the quality of learning and increase coherence in the sector, and will address recommendations made following a review of the Health & Social Care and Childcare sector as it stands; the full review can be accessed here.

When will the new qualifications replace old courses?

The new qualifications will be available from 1 September 2019 and will replace existing courses becoming the only versions available from Welsh Government or local authority funded programmes of learning and apprenticeships. Current qualifications will continue to be funded until this date with a transition period to allow those who are still learning to complete their qualifications. A full list of existing Health & Social Care and Childcare qualifications are listed on Qualification Wales' website.

Who will be involved in developing the new courses?

Qualification Wales will work with awarding bodies, employers and other stakeholders including teachers and work-based trainers who deliver the current qualifications. Awarding bodies are invited to tender for the contract to develop the new qualifications, with a decision being made in September 2017. Successful bodies will then be required to deliver training and support to all centres offering the qualifications from autumn 2018 until the courses become available.

I'm a Health & Social Care or Childcare qualification provider. How will the changes affect me?

There are a number of ways that the changes may affect you as a learning provider, from a change in awarding body and the subject content of qualifications, to changes in assessment requirements and the balance between internal and external assessment. However, Qualification Wales will provide regular newsletter updates throughout the development process as well as hosting events to make sure the process is clear. Learning providers will also have the opportunity to provide feedback on draft versions of the qualifications before the changeover period.

What is the First 1,000 Days Consultation?

The National Assembly for Wales' Children, Young People and Education Committee is undertaking a consultation on the first 1,000 Days of a child's life. Researchers found that this period, stretching from pregnancy to the child's second birthday, has a critical impact on intellectual development and lifelong health. The committee will look at how effectively Welsh parents and ultimately their young children are being supported through this period by Welsh Government.

What does the consultation involve?

The consultation will involve an in depth look at the policies and programmes that Welsh Government currently provides and examining how they contribute to children's health and wellbeing. Each programme or policy will be appraised based on their ability to support children's emotional and social capabilities and development.

What policies and programmes will the consultation be looking at?

The policies and programmes that will be evaluated deal with issues including health and wellbeing during pregnancy, childhood obesity, child health inequalities and reducing the impact of psychological issues caused by disruptive family relationships and possible abuse. A full outline of the policies and programmes affected can be found here.

I work on one of the aforementioned programmes. Can I contribute to the consultation?

If your work for Welsh Government falls under one of the above categories, or another from the full list, the Children, Young People and Education Committee would like to invite you to submit evidence on how your organisation or programme is contributing positively to a child's first 1,000 Days. Written evidence is being accepted until 3 February 2017.

Who can I contact with any further questions?

For further information on the new Health & Social Care and Childcare qualifications and how the changes may affect you, visit the dedicated pages on Qualification Wales' website or contact the development and commissioning team at: healthcarereview@qualificationswales.org

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