More graduates for the Early Years Sector

Reading is a key skill and needs to be learnt from a young age, but does teaching a child to read need a degree? The ‘Read on. Get on.’ campaign group feel that 11,000 more graduates are needed to raise the standard of basic numeracy and maths in nurseries. One of the groups key goals is to ensure that every child achieves a good level of early language development by the age of five, by 2020. With just 13 percent of staff in PVI nurseries in England holding a relevant early years degree adding another 11,000 with be a huge step and will require a lot of extra funding by the government.

As an incentive to nurseries to employ an early years teacher, the campaign group recommends introducing an enhanced Early Years Pupil Premium rate of £1,300, only available to settings with staff qualified to this level. With all these new high qualified staff the average pay in the industry is going to increase, but not all nurseries can afford these new pay raises and now all graduates are going to want to work for £6.50 an hour.

Dame Julia Cleverdon, chair of the 'Read On. Get On.' campaign, said, ‘It’s time to make nurseries the frontline in tackling social mobility in this country. Every child deserves a fair start in life – regardless of the wealth of their family. By providing quality and qualified teaching in every nursery, we can ensure every child arrives at school with the building blocks in place to learn to read and succeed.’

Chief executive Purnima Tanuku said, ‘The vast majority of NDNA member nurseries employ at least one graduate early years teacher and 86 per cent of English settings are currently rated good or outstanding by Ofsted, a higher proportion than for schools or colleges. That makes us a real standout sector.

‘To suggest that nurseries are lacking quality in terms of early years education is unfair. Despite a chronic funding shortfall, nurseries already make a huge educational difference - particularly for underprivileged children. Internationally respected research has underlined this.'

She added, ‘We think it is a great idea for the Early Years Pupil Premium to be raised and for more early years teachers to be employed as a result. NDNA campaigns constantly for more investment for nurseries and standards are rising steadily.’

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