NDNA’s Workforce Survey 2015 

Thank you to all those who filled in our workforce survey which provides us with a crucial insight into the issues affecting the sector. 

We discovered that half of all nurseries are struggling to recruit candidates with the right qualifications and experience. We have given this evidence to the DfE and our recommendations are being looked at by the Government. We will report back our progress on these issues.

Chief Executive of NDNA, Purnima Tanuku OBE, said: “Recruitment is already harder than ever in our sector and though the expansion of free places is good news for parents, it will present a real challenge to childcare providers.

“NDNA has put together recommendations for easing the squeeze on recruitment and ensuring childcare reform is a success for families, nurseries and local economies.”

These recommendations include relaxing stringent GCSE requirements for childcare training, greater investment in workforce development and better career progression pathways to attract candidates to the sector.

Recent stipulation that new apprentices and level three childcare students must have GCSE English and maths at least grade C has become a barrier to would-be workers, with 43% of nurseries unable to find apprentices as a result.

Mrs Tanuku continued: “Despite the difficulties, the nursery sector workforce is committed to becoming better qualified and higher in quality. But more action is needed from the Government to support nurseries in meeting the challenges ahead.

“We’re seeing situations in which lower-grade staff who picked childcare as their career of choice are leaving because they can earn more at employers like supermarkets that offer more family-friendly hours and less pressure. 

“We are seeing Early Years Teachers moving to school nursery settings for better pay and shorter hours. Nurseries would love to pay their staff more but funding shortfalls constrain what they can afford.”

A third of respondents said there were not enough applicants qualified to level three applying for vacant positions and that low pay was given as a reason for the lack of suitable candidates.

The workforce survey response was the highest ever with 424 responses covering 7,400 practitioners and more than 1,000 support staff. Findings include:

  • 88% of settings employ graduate Early Years Teacher or Early Years Professional staff
  • 72% of workers are qualified in paediatric first aid
  • Average turnover is 14% compared with 12% in 2013
  • Childcare providers are paying more for staff training due to reduced support from local authorities
  • The drop in apprentices entering childcare is as much as 60%.