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Courtney Roberts, Korran Jones and Jamie-Lee McDowell have become the first students in the University’s Faculty of Education and Children’s Services to achieve Early Childhood Graduate Practitioner Competencies (GPCs) alongside their degree.

Graduate Practitioner Competencies are a set of nine competencies which are achieved through the application of theory to practice via placements at every level of the degree.  The degree itself, and the GPCs are recognised by the Department for Education as conveying graduates with the additional practice skills required at final year degree level alongside the depth of academic knowledge they possess. 

The competencies were developed by the Early Childhood Studies Degree Network (ECSDN) and through these the students have demonstrated the practice, skills and knowledge which were developed through the professional programme that they studied: the BA Early Childhood Studies.

The nine competencies are: Advocate for young children's rights and participation; promote holistic child development; work directly with young children, families and colleagues to promote health, well-being, safety and nurturing care; observe, listen and plan for young children to support their well-being, early learning, progression and transitions; safeguarding and child protection; inclusive practice; partnership with parents and caregivers; collaborating with others and professional development

Courtney Roberts, said that the GPCs had a positive impact upon her progressing onto the PGCE (Post Graduate Certificate in Education) at Chester. She said: “I have found that working to achieve the Graduate Practitioner Competencies has boosted my confidence by attending placements; they guided me to become the best teacher possible. It will also help my future career as I have found the best ways to meet the needs of each child I work with.”

Jamie-Lee added: “The GPCs helped me build a professional foundation to begin my teaching career. I feel I have become more confident in a school setting and working with other professionals to ensure the children are developing appropriately. It has also given me an insight on how to be organised, professional and how to use my time efficiently.

I liked how the GPCs were both theoretical as well as practical; I was able to conduct my own observations and plan small activities with my own focus groups and then write up reflective statements afterwards.”

Jeanette Bailie, Programme Leader for the BA Early Childhood Studies, added: “I am extremely pleased for all of our graduates, including those with the additional recognition of achieving the GPCs.  As a result, these students have accomplished the best start to their future careers working in a variety of roles across the Education and Children’s Services sector. 

“We have increasing numbers of students year on year working towards these competencies who can progress to careers in teaching, social work, children’s nursing, family support, owing their own businesses and many other career options within the sector”.

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Education and Children's Services; Early Childhood Studies