16 March 2011
The Children's Minister, Sarah Teather MP, has visited Canterbury Christ Church University's Medway Campus to meet with the first group of students studying on the unique New Leaders in Early Years programme.
The programme was launched by the Children’s Workforce Development Council (CWDC), in conjunction with Canterbury Christ Church University, last summer. The programme is the only one of its kind in the country, and its aim is to develop a new generation of outstanding graduate leaders for the early years sector who have the capability to demonstrate high levels of knowledge and skills, and a strong commitment to achieve the best for all young children.
During her visit Sarah Teather said: “The foundation years are critical years for children. What happens from birth to five sets up what happens in later life. Getting early education right is a priority for this Government, especially for children from poorer backgrounds. The students on the New Leaders course are leading the way and it’s great to see them so enthusiastic about working with children.”
Claire Alfrey, Head of the Department of Childhood Studies at the University, said: "We would like to thank the Minister for taking time out her busy schedule to visit our students and staff working on the New Leaders in Early Years programme.
"Our students are very passionate about their studies and futures in early years. I am sure that by taking this opportunity of speaking with them, the Minister has gained firsthand experience not only of their dedication to the sector, but also of the University's commitment to providing high quality teaching and training for early years professionals."
“We are very excited to offer this innovative, new programme which will attract high quality graduates who may not otherwise consider the early years as a career. And alongside other undergraduate and masters provision for experienced practitioners, New Leaders in Early Years will improve outcomes and life chances for all children from the earliest age.”
During her visit, the Minister spoke with Rosie Osmond, 23, and Laura Frost, 21. Rosie studied Drama at university, while Laura qualified with a BSc in Forensic Investigation, with Applied Criminology. Laura said “I applied to the New Leaders course as I was really interested to see how children are taught in an Early Years setting. I knew it would be something that I could be good at and have a real desire to continue working in this field for a long time.
“It’s been very intense. Within three weeks of applying we were on our induction course and starting to receive placements. It’s been non-stop since, but we’ve already learnt so much since starting in November. The way the course is organised is great too, as we get to practice the theory in real settings and that experience is already proving to be invaluable.”
Rosie agreed, saying: “The first few months have been fantastic, but also incredibly fast paced. We’ve had to learn very quickly, but it’s been in a practical environment and it is so important to gain that experience. Everyone on the course, my fellow students and the tutors, have all been very supportive.”
The New Leaders in Early Years programme offers students intensive mentoring and support throughout the two years, including a strong emphasis on progression in the sector after they graduate. Following extensive placements in early years settings including Children’s Centres, childminders and private, voluntary or independent settings students will be in a substantive working role in their second year, whilst completing a Masters Degree.
At the end of the two year course the graduates will have gained an MA Early Years, Early Years Professional Status (EYPS) and leadership and management skills and experience.
To find out more about New Leaders in Early Years programme, visit the website: www.newleaders.org.uk/
Canterbury Christ Church University
Canterbury Christ Church University is a modern university with a particular strength in higher education for the public services.
With nearly 18,000 students, and five campuses across Kent, its courses span a wide range of academic and professional expertise.