Breaking Point: The impact of recruitment and retention challenges on the early years sector in England

nursery practitioner and two children

Breaking Point report

In October 2021, the Alliance launched a survey on staff recruitment and retention in the early years sector in England.

The survey received 1,395 responses from nurseries, pre-schools and some childminding settings, and revealed that:

  • More than eight in 10 of settings are finding it difficult to recruit staff
  • Around half have had to limit the number of, or stop taking on, new children at their setting over the six months prior to the survey
  • Over a third of respondents are actively considering leaving the sector
  • One in six believe that staffing shortages are likely to force their setting to close permanently within a year.

The survey findings are summarised and analysed in our new report: Breaking Point: the impact of recruitment and retention challenges on the early years sector in England.

Our recommendations

To address the concerns raised in the survey, the Alliance are calling for the government to:

1. Determine and publish a set of pay ambitions for the early years sector in England, setting out what it considers to be suitable salary ranges for each role level in the sector 鈥 and to ensure that early entitlement funding is set and maintained at an adequate level to enable early years settings to meet those salary expectations.

2. Value and promote the early years sector as an education profession.

This includes:

  • ensuring that the early years is included in all education announcements, debates and discussions, and that any support schemes or initiatives rolled out to the schools and further education sectors are also rolled out to the early years sector, where appropriate and relevant.
  • reviewing the use of language when discussing the sector, with an emphasis on early years provision as 鈥榚arly education鈥 and on the workforce as 鈥榚arly educators鈥.
  • In the medium-to-long term, running a high-profile campaign to encourage talented and dedicated professionals into the sector.

3. Ensure there are clear and consistent career pathways into and through the sector, as well as funded training and CPD opportunities.

Download the report




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