Exclusive: Majority of nurseries plan to spend less on training staff

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More than half of nurseries say they will spend less on staff training in the next year.

first-aid-training

First aid is a priority area for training for many nurseries

More than half of nurseries say they will spend less on staff training in the next year.

And eighty-five per cent of those providers who have less budget to spend on training cited rising business costs as a major factor.

Early findings from the National Day Nurseries Association’s sixth workforce survey, out on Wednesday, reveal how the climate of underfunding and squeezed budgets is having an impact on nurseries’ ability to provide training and CPD.

It is released against a backdrop of higher costs, inadequate Government funding and increased staff turnover, which means nurseries will continue to struggle to upskill the workforce, the NDNA said.

With staffing accounting for 70-80 per cent of a provider’s overall budget, any increase will narrow the money available in other areas, such as training.

Over a third of respondents said they could only focus on mandatory training and many highlighted underfunding for Government places as a major factor in this situation.

  • Of those that are spending less:
  • 39 per cent are focusing only on mandatory training.
  • 30 per cent are carrying out in-house training.
  • 85 per cent said this was due to increased business costs.

Priority areas for training highlighted by respondents are: safeguarding, first-aid, food hygiene, baby room, speech and language, and behaviour management.

Despite high turnover of staff and the need for mandatory training to ensure staff can be counted in ratios, just 18 per cent of providers said they were planning to spend more on training in the next 12 months.

The majority (55 per cent) were planning to spend less, while around a quarter (27 per cent) will spend a similar amount to the current year.

The findings are based on responses from 705 nursery settings, employing 14,540 staff, and 257 individual practitioners.

Purnima Tanuku, chief executive of the NDNA, said, ‘Recent academic research shows that effective CPD is one of the three key components for quality provision and improving outcomes for children in nursery. We all know how important ongoing professional training is for the early years workforce.

‘These findings from our workforce survey for England reinforce what NDNA has been saying time and again around underfunding: if nurseries are struggling to cover their costs, there will be less available for investing in their staff or their settings. As staffing costs increase above inflation but Government funding stagnates, it is negatively impacting on training budgets and staff development.

‘Without sufficient investment and adequate funding, nurseries will struggle to upskill their workforce to benefit the children.’

Employer comments

‘It is very difficult to fund anything more than mandatory training. Staff do a lot of training online in their own time as it’s extremely difficult to fund courses, pay staff to attend, arrange cover for external face-to-face training, which is often more effective.’

‘Due to business costs rising and underfunding, there is almost no surplus left for things like CPD.’

‘Nothing but essential training is affordable with all the cost pressures on the business.’

‘Lack of funding and rising costs for courses – especially those provided by the local council.’

‘With all the other business costs, all training is an overhead we just don’t have the budget for.’

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