Loss of Level 3 staff is now a ‘full blown crisis’

Karen Faux
Wednesday, June 26, 2019

The number of nursery workers qualified to Level 3 has plummeted from 83 per cent of the early years workforce to just over half now (52 per cent), according to the National Day Nurseries (NDNA) latest Workforce Survey. Many are opting to work in retail.

Nearly half of those exiting the sector are going to work in the retail sector.
Nearly half of those exiting the sector are going to work in the retail sector.

Research carried out by the NDNA for its sixth Early Years Workforce survey for England reveals the extent to which experienced staff are being replaced with younger, inexperienced and less qualified employees.

Turnover is currently at an all time high. Based on research by Oxford Economics on the costs of replacing staff, NDNA estimates staff turnover cost £879m in the last year alone.

Nurseries responding to the survey said they were finding it increasingly hard to recruit qualified staff as salaries, better hours and a ‘loss of passion’ were given as the main reason for the drain on recruitment. Nearly half of leavers (48 per cent) left for jobs in retail.

Seeking a clear direction

‘It is the children who suffer’
Purnima Tanuku OBE, Chief Executive of NDNA, said: ‘We know that the situation in our nursery workforce has been deteriorating over the last few years, but sadly our latest survey reveals a full-blown crisis.

‘It’s the children who ultimately suffer. We know that high quality early education is key to giving them a strong start to their educational journey but a high staff turnover means less continuity of care, with new starters replacing well-known faces.

‘Nursery staff qualified to Level 3 or above understand about child development and how best to support and nurture our children. A less qualified workforce could undermine nurseries’ efforts to drive up quality. It is vital that the early years workforce is valued, recognised and properly rewarded for the crucial role they play in society.

‘We know that employers would love to pay their staff at the rate they deserve but are ham-strung by government underfunding for ‘free’ places which leaves childcare providers struggling to make ends meet. As a result they are finding it harder to attract the right candidates.

‘We are laying the facts bare and calling on the Government to stop ignoring the situation any longer. In 2017, the DfE drew up its Early Years Workforce Strategy but with very little investment behind it, we have not seen the benefits of this in real terms.’

Read the full report here 


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