Survey looks at the impact of work on early years practitioners' mental health

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Childcare practitioners are invited to give their views on the impact working in the early years has had on their stress levels and mental well-being.

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The Alliance's survey asks practitioners about sources of stress

Through its Minds Matter Survey, launched today, the Pre-School Learning Alliance is seeking to find out whether working in the early years affects mental health.

The survey asks practitioners to name sources of stress, whether work has led to the development of health conditions, if they have taken time off because of stress and mental health difficulties and if they have considered leaving the sector because of this.

The deadline for responses is 5pm on Friday 11 May. All responses will be anonymous and confidential.

Results from the survey will be revealed at the Alliance’s annual member conference on Friday 1 June, which this year will focus on the mental health and well-being of children and practitioners in the early years sector. Speaking at the conference is former director of communications for Tony Blair and mental well-being advocate Alastair Campbell.

Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Pre-School Learning Alliance, said, As a society, we’re more open than ever about talking about mental health – and rightly so. And yet, while much research has been done on the impact of working in the primary and secondary education sectors, and in particular, the impact of workload on the mental health of teachers over recent years, there has to date been very little focus on how working in the early years sector can affect practitioners’ mental health and well-being.

‘Underfunding, Ofsted inspections, high workload and poor pay are just some of the challenges facing the early years workforce today – and while it is of course vital to continue campaigning on a sector-wide basis on issues of concern, we at the Alliance believe that it is equally important that the needs of individual practitioners, and the impact that working conditions in the sector may be having on their mental and emotional wellbeing, aren’t overlooked.

‘As such, we hope that this survey will prompt a long overdue discussion on what is a vital issue, and are encouraging as many practitioners as possible to take part.’

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