Early years teacher gaps ‘risk children’s futures’

A shortage of graduate teachers working in the early years sector means many young children are at risk of falling behind before they start school, a charity warns. The BBC reports

Save the Children says there are nearly 11,000 too few early years teachers working in nurseries across England. The government says the charity’s claims are misleading.

The charity analysed data obtained through Freedom of Information requests to the Department for Education.

It concludes that 10,731 nurseries, playgroups and children’s centres – out of a total of 21,041 – do not have staff with qualified teacher status (QTS), early years teacher status (EYTS) or early years professional status (EYPS).

The charity estimates that this means that some 325,000 children are at early years facilities where there is not a staff member with one of these accreditations.

Leonora qualified as an early years teacher two years ago, but she found the pay and general conditions poor. She was surprised to find that the qualification she had completed left her not much better off financially and felt that it was not highly regarded. 

“My salary would only have gone up slightly. The final blow was that during my placement I spoke to the head of the school and she questioned why I’d done the qualification.

“It felt demeaning. No-one does the job for the money, but it needs to be more attractive when you consider the amount of work you go through to get it.” 

Steven McIntosh, Save the Children’s director of UK poverty said “But high-quality childcare, led by graduate early years teachers, can ensure children are ready for school. So instead of lowering ambitions for childcare quality, the government should keep its promise to address the crisis in training, recruiting and retaining these underpaid and undervalued teachers.”

Read the full article Early years teacher gaps ‘risk children’s futures’

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