Early Years Degrees Pointless?
Right, from the start I understand I’m going to annoy several prospective students, but when you look deeper at degrees in early years, childhood education and childcare studies, are they really worth it? Now, presuming you do nothing with you degree, at best you can probably become a classroom assistant, learning mentor, teaching assistant, or perhaps work in childcare or in nurseries.
Presuming you decide to study for a PGCE to become a teacher, how are you going to stand out from the crowd? The whole purpose of a PGCE, if I’m not mistaken, is to prepare you for your first induction year as a qualified member of staff, therefore focusing on the palaeoecological, classroom and education issues such as managing children and lesson planning.
The majority of which you will have learnt in your first degree, yes, but do you have anything else to give? As the government has capped teacher training places, increased competition by setting a minimum of 60% or there-abouts, and given priority to men or teachers with degrees in maths, engineering, science, technology and languages, what can you offer ‘extra’?
I’m not putting down early years or education degrees, but it is probable that PGCE providers will be looking for candidates with degrees in non-education areas such as literature, languages, engineering, maths, biology, French, history, citizenship… something ‘extra’ to give to the school. This does not mean education degrees are redundant, and you can in fact show your passion for teaching through non-degree activities such as classroom assisting and mentoring; however it is fair to say that with the fierce competition there may be more demands on priority subjects.
Some schools would much rather employ a candidate with a degree in mathematics or history than an early years degree, albeit how relevant this may be. Just remember a lot of the topics covered at undergraduate level will form the basis for your PGCE, and having a non-education degree could set you apart from the crowd.
Remember there is a cap on teaching places, greater priority given to men in primary, less funding, plans for teachers to work longer hours for less, increased minimum requirements you need to obtain at degree level, and tests in English, maths and science you also need to pass. I’m not being picky or snobby, but things are changing…