Community calls for robust early years workforce plan

Community is calling for a robust workforce plan for the early years sector in England.

The government’s expanded childcare offer is doomed to failure without the investment in staff needed to deliver it. The DfE’s attempt to address recruitment and retention issues in the sector – the ‘Do Something Big Campaign’ – is a flawed plan based on minimum wage employment, falling short of the competitive salary structure the sector needs to attract new workers.

A Labour Party dossier released last week highlighted that the number of early years childcare places in England had fallen by almost 40,000 since 2010.

Community has voiced its support for Labour’s planned review of the early years sector, led by Sir David Bell.

Helen Osgood, Community’s National Officer for Education and Early Years, said: 

“The falling number of childcare places in England, coupled with the increase in demand which has come with the introduction of new funded hours this month, has created a perfect storm for providers, parents and children alike.

“We have been warning the government that this crisis was pending for months, but they have been carelessly underprepared. Just last week the Prime Minister totally rejected the idea that nurseries do not have capacity for his government’s expansion of childcare hours, even when the evidence was presented to him directly.

“Unless we get a robust workforce plan to underpin the expansion of childcare hours – a meaningful strategy which raises aspirations and wages for staff in the sector – the new childcare scheme is doomed to fail sooner rather than later. The Shadow Secretary for Education is absolutely right: funded childcare hours are of no use to parents if they can’t access them.”

Community is the union for education and early years professionals: representing teachers, headteachers, education, school support staff and early years staff. With over fifty years’ experience, we represent members and campaign to improve conditions for education and early years professionals. We are a modern trade union, campaigning for a better working world.

If you are a member of Community and need advice or support, please contact our Service Centre at or on 0800 389 6332.

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