England faces acute shortage of 11,000 nursery teachers

 

·       Save the Children analysis reveals growing childcare staffing crisis in England

·       Government has broken its promise to address the lack of graduate early years teachers, which risks holding back thousands of children

·       Graduate teachers are the single biggest indicator of quality childcare[1]

There is an acute shortage of nearly 11,000 graduate early years teachers in England, new Save the Children analysis of Government figures has revealed.[2]

The charity is warning that this leaves over 300,000 children at greater risk of falling behind before they reach school – and staying behind throughout their lives. Early years teachers are trained to support children’s early development, and to identify and support those who are struggling

These figures, obtained by Save the Children through a Freedom of Information request, come just days after Secretary of State for Education Damian Hinds pledged to halve the number of pupils starting school behind in talking and reading skills by 2028.

The charity has warned that the government is already undermining this target by failing to get the grips with this staffing crisis and lowering its ambitions for childcare quality.  Only last month, the Government axed a commitment to address the early years teacher shortage – a decision criticised by charities, school and nursery leaders.

Just as quality teaching makes all the difference in schools, a well-skilled nursery workforce led by early years teachers is key to quality early education.

While all childcare providers have staff who are trained to care for children, only 36 per cent in the private sector have a qualified early years teacher on their team.

Early years teachers are the single biggest indicator of quality childcare. Without them, children are almost 10 per cent less likely to reach good levels of development in their first year of primary school. Disadvantaged children, who are currently 50 per cent more likely to have fallen behind at age five, can benefit the most from this high-quality support.

Steven McIntosh, Save the Children Director of UK Poverty, said:

“Children who start behind, stay behind. 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. All of our little ones should have access to nursery care led by an early years teacher. Without action, we’ll be letting down our next generation.”

Save the Children’s analysis reveals there is a shortage of around 2,000 graduate early years teachers in the most disadvantaged areas, where they are most needed. The charity says this must be the Government’s first priority.

Today’s analysis reveals significant disparities across the country. Preschool children in Sunderland are five times as likely to go to a nursery with a graduate early years teacher as those in Shropshire.

The East Midlands is the region where the lowest percentage of preschool children have access to graduate teachers. The East of England is the second lowest. The North East is the best performing region, followed by inner London.

The Local Authorities where the lowest proportion of preschool children have access to a graduate early years teacher are Shropshire, Swindon and Rotherham, while the highest percentages of children with graduate teachers are in Sunderland, Kensington and Chelsea and Islington.

A quarter of five-year-olds - around eight children in every reception class - are struggling with the basic language and communication skills needed to succeed at school. They may struggle to understand and pay attention to others, express themselves, or follow simple instructions. Many of these children never catch up.

The charity says that instead of improving support to stop children from falling behind, evidence of an early years staffing crisis is mounting up:

·       The number of people enrolling on the Early Years Initial Teacher Training course has fallen for the fourth year running, with only 595 people starting the training in the last year compared to 2,327 in 2013-14.

·       Universities are cutting the courses because the numbers aren’t sustainable.

·       21% of current graduate workforce is aged over 50 and approaching retirement age[3]

·       Parliament’s Treasury Select Committee has set out major concerns that childcare funding pressures are leaving providers cutting back on higher-qualified staff.

Mr McIntosh continued:

“The Education Secretary has set out a major new ambition to improve social mobility, starting in the early years. Addressing this chronic shortage of skilled early years teachers must be at the forefront of this. But many early years teachers are leaving the profession or are close to retirement and the numbers starting training are plummeting. This is hardly surprising when official figures show that investment in promoting early years teacher training is less than one per cent of what is spent on school teachers”.

In an open letter to Nadhim Zahawi MP, the Childcare Minister, Save the Children joined leading academics, union leaders and education bodies, including the National Association of Head Teachers, Ark academies and the National Day Nurseries Association. They have called on the government to keep its promise to address the early years teacher shortage, and set out a strategy to recruit and retain these vital early years teachers.

Previous research from Save the Children shows that children already behind at the age of five are four times more likely to fall below expected standards of reading by the end of primary school than those who started school on track. Evidence shows that children who fall behind before school also feel the effect into adulthood. They are more likely to struggle to succeed in the world of work and see a hit to their confidence, social skills, relationships and mental health.

NOTES TO EDITORS

·       This data was obtained by a Freedom of Information request from the Department for Education. Save the Children requested and was provided with:

o    the number and proportion of childcare settings in the private, voluntary and independent sector who employ an Early Years Teacher, Early Years Professional or someone with Qualified Teacher Status.

o   the number of children accessing the free hours entitlement who attend a provider with an EYT or equivalent

·       Figures on the early years teacher shortage are based on the number of private, voluntary and independent childcare providers in England who do not employ an early years teacher or equivalent.

·       Early years teacher (EYT) status is a graduate teaching qualification, with specialism in age 0-5, which qualifies trainees to teach the early years foundation stage profile.

·       The 2017/18 marketing budget for recruitment to primary and secondary initial teacher training is £15.2 million, whereas recruitment for Early Years Initial Teacher Training is £100,000.

·       Trainee secondary teachers in subjects including the sciences, geography and languages can receive a bursary of up to £26,000. The maximum amount awarded to trainee early years teachers is £5,000.

·       There is no requirement to give EYTs ongoing induction support once they have qualified, whereas all teachers with Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) get a ‘newly qualified teacher’ year with consultations underway to extend this to two years.

·       There are no financial incentives for EYTs to remain in the profession, whilst secondary maths teachers who work in in state schools receive £5,000 in their third and fifth years of teaching to encourage them to remain in the profession. This is increased to £7,500 for teachers working in disadvantaged areas.

·       In the UK Save the Children focuses on tackling poverty and providing opportunity during the critical first years of life, from birth through to the start of primary school. Working with local primary schools, nurseries and local authorities the charity helps busy mums and dads boost their children’s early learning at home - building their confidence, and showing them how to make learning easy and fun for their children.

REGIONAL VARIATIONS:

Ranked by the percentage of children in private, voluntary and independent childcare settings without a qualified early years teacher or equivalent:  

REGION

Percentage of children who do not have access to a graduate early years teacher

Number of children without an EYT

North East

38%

7,851

Inner London

40%

11,720

North West

42%

36,967

South West

45%

30,240

South East

47%

61,588

Outer London

48%

29,723

Yorkshire and the Humber

48%

29,178

West Midlands

50%

36,210

East of England

55%

45,894

East Midlands

55%

32,731

England

48%

325,086

 

 

BOTTOM 20 LOCAL AUTHORITIES:

Local Authority

Percentage of children who do not have access to a graduate early years teacher

Number of children who do not have access to an early years teacher

 

 

 

 

 

Shropshire

82%

2,492

Swindon

78%

2,354

Rotherham

72%

1,733

Dudley

71%

2,647

Derbyshire

71%

5,753

Halton

70%

1,325

Rochdale

69%

2,215

Havering

69%

2,553

Newham

69%

1,802

Leicester

67%

3,251

Hartlepool

66%

305

Sandwell

65%

2,548

South Tyneside

65%

773

Bexley

65%

1,983

Peterborough

64%

2,923

Redbridge

64%

2,489

Cambridgeshire

64%

5,858

Oxfordshire

64%

5,179

Coventry

63%

2,493

Stoke-on-Trent

62%

1,568

 

TOP 20 LOCAL AUTHORITIES:

Local Authority

Percentage of children who do not have access to a graduate early years teacher

Number of children who do not have access to an early years teacher

 

 

 

Sunderland

9%

129

Kensington and Chelsea

14%

210

Islington

18%

291

Brighton and Hove

20%

753

Herefordshire

22%

503

Lambeth

24%

714

Plymouth

24%

885

Camden

24%

506

Wokingham

24%

532

Northumberland

26%

745

Calderdale

28%

861

Harrow

28%

938

Hammersmith and Fulham

28%

504

Liverpool

29%

1,380

Sefton

29%

747

Kingston upon Thames

29%

492

Cheshire West and Chester

29%

1,320

Blackburn with Darwen

30%

740

Cheshire East

30%

1,488

Wakefield

33%

858

Complete Local Authority table available on request.

ENDS

With any enquiries please contact Dan Stewart on +44 (0)20 3763 0119 | +44 (0)7950 822494 | d.stewart@savethechildren.org.uk

 

[1] Sylva, K., et al. (2004) The Effective Provision of Pre-School Education (EPPE) project: Technical paper 12 The Final Report: Effective Pre-School Provision. UCL Institute of Education: London.

[2] Data obtained by Save the Children through a Freedom of Information request, based on analysis of the Department for Education’s Provision for children under 5 years of age, January 2018 [https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/education-provision-children-under-5-years-of-age-january-2018]

[3] Sara Bonetti (2018), The Early Years Workforce: A Fragmented Picture. EPI: London.  

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