Voice Community – the early years and education section of Community Union – has again called on the Government to act to tackle the recruitment and retention crisis in the early years sector, following the new Early Years Alliance report, Breaking Point: The impact of recruitment and retention challenges on the early years sector in England.
Community Assistant General Secretary (Voice Section) Deborah Lawson said:
“The Alliance’s report gives a stark warning of the sector’s staffing crisis.
“We know that, despite being skilled professionals, many staff are leaving for low skilled but better paid jobs elsewhere.
“Early years professionals shouldn’t be leaving the sector to stack supermarket shelves, in order to make ends meet. They should not be underpaid and undervalued by government and society, but given appropriate pay for the incredible work they do, with a proper career development structure.
“The sector should not be overlooked by government, scraping by on inadequate funding, unable to pay the salary levels that are required to end this recruitment and retention crisis and to implement the measures necessary for the long-term recovery.
“The new Education Secretary and his team have given some indication that they appreciate the problems the sector faces, and we will continue to work with them to seek resolution to those problems.”
In Voice Community’s report, The Future of Education, early years sector members recommended:
- a fair wage for every worker;
- the “free entitlement” to be fixed so it is truly free and works for both early years settings and parents;
- career development for early years workers;
- a focus on social skills and mental wellbeing; and
- a return to learning through play.