University's Early Years Programme Receives Glowing Progress Report

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The University of Worcester’s Early Years Initial Teacher Training Programme has today received a glowing report from an independent watchdog.

The Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) for Higher Education, the independent body charged with safeguarding quality and standards in UK universities and colleges, concluded in its audit that the University has made ‘commendable’ progress – the highest possible standard.

In 2011, the University was awarded one of only eight national contracts to educate and train Early Years Professionals in England and is the lead provider of the new Early Years Initial Teacher Training Programme, working with partners across the West Midlands and South West regions.

The audit is the second to be carried out by the QAA since the programme’s introduction, and has returned a glowing progress report.

The University was commended for the development of its virtual learning environment (VLE) and data portal; the effectiveness of its recruitment strategy, particularly for male candidates; and for the introduction of the Early Years Initial Teacher Training  programme, which is designed to raise the prominence of the early years workforce.

Professor David Green, Vice Chancellor and Chief Executive of the University of Worcester, says: “There is a widely held consensus that more graduates should be working in the extremely important area of Early Years development.

“The University of Worcester has been at the fore of the drive to achieve this, working with partners from across the country. We are delighted that this independent audit has returned such a positive report and that our work in this area is commended.

“There is great competition for places on the course, with each and every one being snapped up by high quality trainees who will go on to play a significant role in the lives of children and their families.”

Dr Karen Hanson, Head of the University’s Centre for Early Childhood, adds: “It is extremely pleasing that the auditors have identified the first class progress made.

“The fact that they have awarded us with the highest possible rating highlights the hard work put in by both students and staff to ensure that the University of Worcester’s early years graduates will make a difference to children’s and families lives.”

The successful audit is the latest accolade for the University of Worcester, which is particularly strong in educating professionals to work with children. Worcester is the University partner of choice for the National Childbirth Trust, while its education of antenatal professionals has consistently received outstanding evaluations.”

The University’s own nursery and teacher training programme are both rated as ‘outstanding’ by education watchdog Ofsted. The University is also home to one of the few courses in the country in the fast-growing area of children’s illustration.