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News - 9 March 2020 (LeftFootForward)

Poor funding of early-years education is still pushing staff to quit, with employers reporting resignations for reasons from lack of progression and work/life balance to negative effects on health, as well as low pay.

About 15% of early-years workers leave their jobs every year, as in 2018. However, this disguises the 18% of providers – nearly one in five – that saw a quarter of their staff walk out the door in the last 12 months, up six percentage points from a year ago.

The results are from a Ceeda report into early-years education at 563 nurseries and pre-schools – highlighting funding struggles under a Tory-led government. Ceeda is a specialist researcher that analyses the early-years education sector.

Dr Jo Verrill, managing director at Ceeda, said: “Sadly, these latest findings are all too familiar. The case for change has long been made, and early-years staff understandably want a shift from evidence to action.

“There is a clear evidenced need for a step-change in the status and rewards of early-years careers. This will require radical change in the way people think about and value early education, matched by commensurate levels of public sector investment.”

According to the employers surveyed, pay and benefits are a key reason for staff resignations – but quality of life and the cost of coming to work also play a role. One in four (24%) said that workers want a job closer to home, with many citing the cost of their commute.

Seventy-six percent of employers say their staff leave to “look for new challenges”. But 65% cite a lack of progression in their jobs and 59% say staff’s contributions are not properly recognised.

Fifty-eight percent of employers cite poor communications as pushing staff to leave, with 57% saying staff want a role where they are permitted to use their own initiative more. And 55% say roles do not allow employees to realise their full potential.

Worryingly, nine percent say staff are leaving because their work is damaging their health, and 11% cite poor work/life balance as a reason for departure.

Workplace stresses and costs rising

According to the Ceeda study, staff shortages are increasing workplace stresses for both nursery workers and families – with 77% of the providers with recruitment difficulties saying this is causing a more stressful working environment (77%). That’s up 21 percentage points on 2018...


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