National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA) has joined forces with the Education Policy Institute (EPI) to launch a year-long research project looking at the impact of Covid-19 on early years providers and their workforce.
As Labour said last month, a perfect storm is brewing from rising childcare costs and lack of financial support of the sector. This research project will go on until June 2021 with four surveys taking place between now and next summer.
The first survey is about collecting a snapshot in time to understand the workforce landscape before lockdown and the current picture now.
NDNA chief executive Purnima Tanuku OBE said:
‘We know that this virus and its consequences have had a devastating impact on the whole of society, but it has been particularly damaging for the already-struggling childcare sector.
‘We are investigating how lower demand for places along with the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the way it was applied to early years settings has impacted on the workforce. This includes staffing levels, qualifications, training and opportunities for continuing professional development.
‘This is vital information that will help shape proposals that would effectively support the workforce in England, Scotland and Wales in terms of training and knowledge. To understand what solutions will work for the sector and what support Governments could provide, we have to see the impact the pandemic has had – this study will provide this in real time.
‘A well-qualified, motivated and properly recognised workforce is crucial to the quality of care and early education our children receive. We are asking childcare providers across the UK to take the time to complete an initial survey this month. This will be followed by a further three surveys which will capture the evolving nature of the challenges facing the sector in each nation.’
Sara Bonetti, Director of Early Years at the Education Policy Institute (EPI), said:
‘The early years sector has long been in poor financial health, but the pandemic has exacerbated many existing problems and now poses an additional acute threat to childcare providers. The ongoing disruption will have created huge instability for the hundreds of thousands of early years workers in the UK, who play an indispensable role in the learning and development of our youngest children.
‘A stable early years workforce is essential to delivering high-quality provision for children, so it is vital that we understand how workers have been impacted by this crisis.’