A fifth of early years & education staff set to leave the sector

Fears have been raised of a mass exodus in the education and early years sector after a new report published by Voice Community revealed that over a fifth of staff intend to leave in the coming three years. 

‘The Future of Education’  was published today following a survey of Community union’s education and early years members across the U.K.  

22.39% of education and early years staff indicated that they plan to leave within the next three years. The primary reasons given for leaving the sector were the pressures that accompanied the role, high administrative workload and low pay. 

The research also revealed that 78% of teachers believe that online learning increases the gap between advantaged and disadvantaged learners, only 38% of staff had been given  appropriate training to prepare them for onlin e learning and one in three were without the necessary equipment they needed to deliver online learning. 

Retention has been a growing issue within the education and early years sector in previous years, with the most recent School Workforce in England survey showing a continued retention rate fall. The Future of Education indicates that this may worsen following the pandemic. 

The publication of the report follows descriptions of the government’s £1.4bn post-pandemic catchup programme for pupils in England as “frustrating and lacking ambition”, with only about a tenth of the £15bn recommended by the education recovery commissioner Sir Kevan Collins actually provided.  

Commenting on the report, Deborah Lawson, Assistant General Secretary with Community Union (Voice Community education and early years section), said:    

“The aftermath of the pandemic represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to change education and early years education – what we learn, how we learn it and how we assess it – and ensure it meets the needs of children, parents and the economy. 

“This opportunity must be about long-term recovery and progress – not short-term ‘catch-up’. 

“There is not quick-fix solution for politicians to make headlines with, tick some boxes and pretend it’s ‘job done’. Adding some hours to the school day here, shaving a week off the summer holidays there, in an attempt to return to the old ways of a system that needs to be reformed, will not work. 

“The new system must meet the needs of learners, not learners the needs of the system.” 

The report made numerous recommendations for a recovery from the pandemic for the education and early years sector. They included more mental health andrecovery support for staff, increased planning time, improved pay and conditions and more training. 

Kate Green, Shadow Education Secretary, speaking to The Independent said: 

“For months the Conservatives have ignored calls from teachers and parents to prioritise children’s wellbeing and social development as we emerge from the pandemic.”

“The government’s pathetic catch-up plan provides 10 times less investment than their own expert advisor says is needed with nothing to boost children’s wellbeing after the isolation of lockdown.”

The Future of Education was published on 7th June by Voice Community, the education and early years section of the trade union Community.  The report can be read in full here. 

If you are a member of Community and need help or advice, please contact us at help@community-tu.org or on 0800 389 6332.

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