The BBC is reporting that campaigners believe that nurseries in England are struggling to recruit staff who are qualified, risking the closure of many nurseries.
Since 2014, the government has said key nursery workers must have at least a grade C in GCSE English and maths. But campaign group Save our Early Years said there was now evidence that this requirement was blocking staff career paths and deterring new starters. The Department for Education said it was working with the profession on a future staffing strategy.
Figures from qualifications body Ofqual show about 12,500 students completed the Level 3 Early Years Educator course between July and September 2015, compared with 18,000 in the same period in the previous year – a fall of about 30%.
But industry leaders warn the drop in the number of those completing it is evidence of an impending recruitment crisis, which is already damaging the quality of childcare on offer to parents. It also puts in jeopardy government plans to introduce 30 hours of free childcare to all three and four-year-olds from 2017, they say.
A Department for Education spokeswoman said: “We want to make sure we get the best staff into the early years sector.”
“We are working with the profession to look at how we can develop people’s talents and keep our most experienced staff. This is backed up by record investment in childcare – £6bn per year by the end of this parliament.”
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