The early years sector needs a properly funded workforce

Today, teachers from the National Education Union are striking, including many working in nursery and reception classes. In the last week, the Department for Education published a report providing further evidence of the importance and impact of high quality teaching in reception. This adds to existing evidence about the crucial role of high quality teaching across the whole of the early years sector. But this can only be achieved if the sector is funded to be able to pay appropriately qualified staff, whether they are qualified teachers, or staff with Early Years Teacher Status (still not given equivalence to QTS), level 3 Early Years Educators or those who bring other qualifications and experience to the role. Reception teachers are funded through the schools block, which received £2.3bn extra funding in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement, while the early years block received nothing extra, despite a massive recruitment and retention crisis and a low-paid and undervalued workforce.

We call on government to fund both the early years and schools block adequately to allow all of the early years workforce to be paid at a level which allows the sector to recruit the best qualified candidates to the vital role of supporting the learning of our youngest children.

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