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Growing childcare staffing crisis highlighted
New Save the Children analysis of government figures has revealed that there is an acute shortage of nearly 11,000 graduate early years teachers in England.
The charity states that over 300,000 children are therefore at greater risk of falling behind before they reach school, which could leave them struggling in later life as well.
With early years teachers trained to support children’s early development, and to identify and support those who are struggling, the figures follow Education Secretary Damian Hinds’ pledge to halve the number of pupils starting school behind in talking and reading skills by 2028. However, Save the Children says that he government is already undermining this target by failing to get the grips with this staffing crisis and lowering its ambitions for childcare quality.
The analysis reveals there is a shortage of around 2,000 graduate early years teachers in the most disadvantaged areas, where they are most needed, with data showing that children are almost 10 per cent less likely to reach good levels of development in their first year of primary school without early years teachers.
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.”Read more