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Survey highlights need for workforce strategy

A survey published today in Nursery World has highlighted that staff are leaving the childcare sector because they feel unable to progress.

The Early Years Trailblazer Group surveyed 656 employers, and found that 88 per cent of nurseries said Level 2 staff are quitting as a result of the GCSE requirements and the need for Level 3 training.

Nursery World has reported that 58 per cent of those surveyed said their staff left because they did not believe they were able to achieve the GCSEs and nearly a third (30 per cent) said they couldn’t achieve the Level 3 qualification.

The survey also points to poor salary being a factor for 58 per cent of Level 3 staff leaving childcare.

While the statutory need for GCSE requirements appears to be having a big impact on the sector, Childcare Minister Sam Gyimah last week reinforced that Maths and English were "the two most important vocational subjects, as a requirement for any job". But, he also voiced a willingness to listen to the sector if it could provide compelling evidence that GCSE requirements were having a knock-on effect on recruitment.

Liz Bayram, PACEY’s Chief Executive, comments: "This survey echoes findings from our Building Blocks survey which showed that almost one fifth of childcare providers were unsure whether they would still be working in childcare in 12 months time. It also showed that escalating costs for Level 3 qualifications and reduced local authority support for training are adding to the increased pressures on nursery staff.

"The Government needs to do more to support childcare professionals to achieve a full and relevant Level 3 qualification and to put in place strategies to support and incentivise practitioners throughout their careers. This needs to address both how to encourage new entrants into the profession, as well as helping those already working in the sector to progress their careers.

"We have welcomed the Childcare Minister’s formal commitment to publishing an early years workforce strategy and we look forward to working with him on this and sharing our ideas for practical solutions to help build a sustainable workforce."