Continuing Personal and Professional Development

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I have been instructed by the University of Westminster’s course handbook 2007/2008 Certificate in Education to carry out a substantial research report on my subject area which is Home-based Childcare and the need for my own continuous personal and professional development (CPPD). The definition of which is the holistic commitment to enhancing ones skills for personal or professional competence.

I have researched not only CPPD but also looked at government white papers on education both the Leitch review 2004 and the Foster Review in 2004 and how they have affected the course for Home-based Childcare. I have also looked at the Government’s Ten Year Childcare Strategy, which affected the funding of the courses that I teach.

Whilst I have studied these reports it would be impossible for me to cover every single issue so I have defined what I feel are the most important and relevant to my own professional and personal development.

The reason I have chosen the Leitch review is because it highlighted the lack of skills in the UK. This then resulted in the Foster review looking at college structure and the evaluation of both strengths and weaknesses within that structure and how colleges were best placed to ensure the Leitch recommendations were met. Both reviews had an impact on the Governments Ten year Childcare Strategy and the recommendations that came from it.


I utilised the internet to research the Leitch review – commissioned by the government in 2004 to carry out an independent review of the long-term skills that the United Kingdom would need to achieve maximum growth, productivity and social justice by 2020.

Sir Andrew Foster was invited by the Secretary of State for Education and Skills, and Chair of the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) to carry out an independent review of the future role of FE colleges in November 2004. He invited written evidence from colleges and others, he commissioned research and had a series of meetings and workshops and visited some colleges.

The Government’s ten year strategy – ‘Choice for parents, the best start for children: a ten year strategy for childcare sets out the Government’s long-term vision to ensure that every child gets the best start in life and to give parents more choice about how to balance work and family life.’

I researched both the reviews in great detail and then have highlighted the key points in this report which have had an effect on the courses that I teach. They have both impacted on my continuing professional development.

The strategy has affected my role significantly and I used my own knowledge of it and then further researched in greater detail on the internet. This then enabled me to relate it to both the reviews and my CPPD.


Lord Sandy Leitch’s review identified that;

* The UK was 17th on low skills, 20th on intermediate skills and 11th on high skills.

* Five million adults in the UK lack functional literacy which is represented as a level 1 qualification and seventeen million adults have difficulty with numbers.

* More than a third of working adults have not achieved even the basic qualifications resulting in a large proportion lacking in basic skills – numeracy and literacy.

* More than one in six young people leave school unable to read, write or add up properly.

A highly skilled workforce is essential to the countries economic growth to enable it to meet the demands of the consumer. The benefits for the individual will mean higher incomes and raise aspirations, for employers it will increase productivity allow them to be more competitive.

The review recommended that everyone should have;

* Basic skills which are represented as level 2, although for a small number this may be unobtainable.

* Adults with intermediate skills should move from a level 2 to level 3. Management skills will improve by achieving a level 4 qualification.

* An introduction of new diplomas and apprenticeships within the workforce and a greater emphasis on vocational skills

Lord Leitch concludes:

“Skills were once a key lever for prosperity and fairness. Skills are now increasingly the key lever.”

Sir Andrew Foster’s review identified that there were some strengths within colleges. His report showed that there was a committed and professional workforce, a strong commitment to inclusion and a diversity of courses that were already being provided.

The review highlighted many weaknesses such as;

* Problems with the level of qualifications and skills

* Conflicts between FE colleges, the LSC and the DfES, there were too many bodies inspecting, advising and regulating.

* Too many students were not achieving the qualification on the course that they enrol, they were not realising their full potential.

The recommendations from the review were;

* To have a greater emphasis on vocational courses, those that end with a qualification so that they can be used within the workforce.

* Local employers need to be consulted on what skills they require their workforce to have so that the courses offered are relevant to the local community.

* Inspections should have a lighter approach; colleges should not being inundated with inspectors.

* Colleges need to work within the community to offer essential skills by providing outreach to those that would not be able to access the college, ensuring inclusion.

* Students should receive impartial advice from colleges with regard to courses that suit them and not the college.

* More institutions schools, colleges, voluntary organisations, support organisations and Higher Education establishments should all work with each other for the benefit of the learners and the employers.

The Government’s Ten Year Childcare Strategy entitled – Choice for parents, the best start for children, was published in 2004. This was another area the government felt needed to be tackled, they wanted to encourage parents to return to work after having children – many parents had complained that they were better off by not returning to work, there was little or no incentive for them. Many stated that they were simply better off on benefits, dependant on the state for many years until they had little or no self-confidence and almost no transferable skills. So by the time their children were at school they would be unemployable which could affect the UK’s economic growth and skill statistics.

The key themes in the strategy highlighted were:

* Childcare had been a neglected area of family policy within the government as it was seen as a private family matter.

* The Childcare workforce needed to achieve a higher level of education and training

* Provision was inadequate and research repeatedly demonstrated that it was the major barrier to employment among low-income families, especially lone parents.

In order to tackle child poverty some of the strategies highlighted were;

* To improve the availability, affordability and quality of childcare and formed part of the government’s strategy to tackle child poverty through expanding childcare to encourage more parents to return to work.

* Parents can get help with training or returning to work

* High quality provision delivered by a skilled early years and childcare workforce, with full daycare provision carers being professionally led with a strengthened qualification and career structure.

The 10-year strategy represents a ‘vision’ for childcare until 2010 ‘and beyond’:

‘The Government’s vision is that all families who need provision will have access to an affordable, flexible, high quality childcare place that meets their particular circumstances. The availability of childcare should not be an obstacle to participation in work, education or training.’


Leitch’s review has had a great impact on further education – how could our economy grow at that level? Changes needed to be made. It was advising that colleges should change their emphasis on the courses that they provided shifting the emphasis towards courses that had a vocational purpose. Also he identified the need for all adults to acquire basic skills. Resulting in a change in funding, leisure courses lost a huge percentage of funding and the cost then had to be passed onto the student. Whilst vocational courses – those that resulted with transferrable skills were to receive greater funding, ensuring greater accessibility and inclusion.

Foster felt it was not enough to merely get students to enrol but colleges had to work on the retention rate by getting students to achieve the qualification, how? One way was to suggest that colleges went out of their comfort zone and utilised other premises to enable potential students to overcome barriers such as a previous bad experience whilst attending school or college or a travel issue. Additional learning support was to receive greater funding ensuring that students with impairments or learning disorders could access education and feel supported throughout the course.

Foster also recommended that the range of courses that were provided were relevant to the community that the college was within, so there was a need to consult local employers to ascertain what type of skills they needed their workforce to have. This could result that the employers would fund their employees to undertake certain courses whilst remaining in their employment. Although the Foster review seemed to be bias in looking specifically to the 14-19 learner and not taking the adult learners needs into account.

The government’s ten Year strategy highlighted the need for there to be sufficient quality & affordable childcare places to enable parents to have the choice of returning to work. How could this be achieved? There was already not enough nursery, playgroup places for the number of under 5’s in the country, so there was only one way to fill the gap with home-based childcarers – affordable with the introduction of working tax credit and skilled through achieving a minimum level 3 qualification by 2010.

For some tutors, especially those that taught leisure courses a negative effect would have been the result of both Leitch and Foster’s review. Also colleges saw the negative side they had to undergo a new direction and saw major structural changes within staffing and funding.

A positive outcome is that adults and younger learners will acquire the skills, knowledge and qualifications to be able to lead more meaningful and successful lives.

The positive impact has meant that suddenly CPPD was not just a buzz word but a vital part of a tutor’s role. All adults needed to achieve a higher level of education including tutors full or part-time – lifelong learning.

‘Throughout their working and learning lives adults must recognise the importance of continuous development; continuous personal development is as important for fulfilling social expectations as continuous professional development is for fulfilling economic expectations.’

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