Commenting on the report in Nursery World that one in ten childcare practitioners are living in poverty, Deborah Lawson, General Secretary of education and early years union Voice, said:
“These findings are shocking but, sadly, not surprising.
“It’s an unpalatable truth that many skilled early years professionals could earn more stacking supermarket shelves – a fact that was borne out by recent research from the Education Policy Institute and the National Day Nurseries Association – but stay in the profession because it is their vocation.
“Voice’s 2015 workforce survey found that many employers rely on the “goodwill” of staff to work unpaid overtime.
“These pay levels are not commensurate with the skills and education required for early years professionals, especially for those at graduate level.
“Is it any wonder that there is a recruitment and retention crisis?
“There is an urgent need for a career and salary structure for early years professionals, and the Department for Education should not to wash its hands and effectively blame the sector when it provides funding and sets high expectations for children’s outcomes. The early years are vital to children’s development.
“Nurseries are struggling financially and so Voice is calling for a major investment – in both funding and a workforce strategy – from the Government to raise the status of the sector and profession.”
"According to research from Voice and PACEY, only 37 per cent of those with Early Years Teacher Status had improved pay as a result.
"This is compared with 66 per cent of those with QTS who said their income improved as a result of their qualification."