A new national recruitment campaign has been launched in England by the Department of Education today across TV, cinema, online, radio and out of home advertising to encourage people to start a career working with small children ahead of the first phase of the largest ever expansion in free childcare in England starting in April.
A £1,000 sign-on bonus for childcare workers - which will cover 20 local authorities across England - is also being launched today to increase capacity, tackle unemployment, and offer more childcare places. The trial will give new-starters and returners a tax-free cash payment shortly after they take up post.
The ‘Do Something Big’ recruitment campaign will look to boost recruitment across the sector by highlighting the vast array of childcare career routes and progression opportunities offering on-the-job training, flexible hours, and, most importantly, the chance to shape and support young lives.
See recruitment campaign here
The government has also today taken steps to provide greater funding certainty to nurseries and childcare providers. A window - likely to be 8 weeks - will be introduced, within which local authorities must confirm rates, after the point the Department announces local authority rates.
They have also made clear to all local authorities that they should confirm local funding rates that come into force from 1 April no later than the end of February.
In October last year, the government allocated local authorities their share of £289m to support the expansion of wraparound childcare and today, four areas - Central Bedfordshire, the bi-borough of Westminster and Kensington & Chelsea, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire - have confirmed they will be rolling out expanded wraparound provision from April 2024.
Education Secretary, Gillian Keegan said:
“Parents shouldn’t have to choose between a career and a family and our expanded childcare offer is going to make sure of that.
“From April, hundreds of thousands of parents of two year olds will get 15 funded hours. This is good for families and good for the wider economy – ultimately putting more money in parents’ pockets at the end of the month.
“The fantastic nurseries, childminders and professionals across the childcare sector are central to the success of this rollout and our new recruitment campaign will support them in continuing to deliver the flexible and high-quality childcare parents need.”
Helen Donohoe, PACEY’s Chief Executive comments:
"At PACEY we welcome todays launch of the new national recruitment campaign in England and we’re looking forward to seeing the brilliant work of our members highlighted and celebrated.
We desperately need more capacity in our sector and PACEY have long called for a high-profile campaign to highlight the importance of careers in early education and childcare. However, we are also clear that advertisements on their own will not address the current workforce emergency. For example, more must be done to retain the experienced professionals that we already have, not least childminders who are still leaving the profession in alarming numbers.
To that end a comprehensive, long-term workforce strategy is long overdue. There are myriad reasons why skilled, dedicated people choose to leave their early education and childcare career, and to address that we must start to truly value the difference that they make through proper investment in them as professionals and in the work that they do."