More early years practitioners needed says Council

Jobs in early years and childcareJobs in early years and childcare

Posted on: 30 January 2017

An increase in entitlement to free childcare for pre school age children is likely to highlight a shortage of early years practitioners across the UK.

From September, the Government is doubling entitlement to free childcare for all three and four years olds, from 15 hours per week to 30 hours a week for working parents.

While the increase is welcomed, Devon County Council is concerned that there are too few early years practitioners working within the sector, and is encouraging people to consider careers in early years education.

In a recent report, the children’s charity Save the Children highlighted a shortage of around 10,000  trained early years teachers across the country, and warned that children without an early years teacher are less likely to meet expected development levels when they start school.

The charity says that children who start behind are also more likely to stay behind through out their school lives.

The early years and childcare sector is made up of mainly private, voluntary and independent settings, and maintained nurseries within schools.

But as a sector, it has struggled with long term recruitment and retention of teachers and staff.

There are currently 28 full and part-time vacancies  in Devon across all levels of the sector, from nursery assistants to pre school managers, and for positions for people wishing to progress to early years teacher status.

The Council has made a short film which it is sharing via social media to encourage more people to consider careers in early years education.

Amelia Joyner, mother of three children under the age of 12, has been the leader of a pre school in Cullompton for just over two years, having qualified as an early years teacher.

She said:

“I didn’t start out to work with children.  In fact the path that led me to my career is fairly different.  I was a Recruitment Consultant, which I did love, but once my daughter had started at pre school, I just became really involved.  I knew then that I wanted to work with children, so I re-trained.”

“No two days are the same, but all days are filled with hard work and fun!  One minute I may be making a volcano, the next I’m whipping up purple fairy foam!

“For anyone interested in working with children, either changing career or straight from college, then I would say absolutely do it!  You have to put the children first, put them at the heart of what you do and give it your total commitment.

“You need to be calm, kind and insightful and to be able to be tuned in to the needs of children and really love being with children.  If you have these qualities, then it’s immensely fun and you will love it!

“Plus there are lots of training opportunities and the potential for a long career.  Nothing stays the same in this sector, which presents new learning and training opportunities.  There are lots of directions you can go in and it’s easy to move up.”

Previous experience of teaching is not necessary, because work-based training is available, but enthusiasm and energy to work with young children is essential.

Councillor James McInnes, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member with responsibility for education, said:

“Working in an early years setting is a really important area of work, hugely worthwhile and of enormous benefit to young children in preparation for their school education.  It carries a wide range of opportunities for progression to make it a very rewarding career.”

To find out more from Amelia and others about working in early years education, visit the website:

To find out more about entitlement to free childcare, visit the Council’s website.

1 comment on “More early years practitioners needed says Council

  1. C Young says:

    Great job, I agree, but hardly surprising that it’s difficult to recruit skilled and experienced people as the pay is so low !
    Much more funding is needed in order to attract and retain excellent staff.

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