Editor's view - Paying the price

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You probably don’t need us to tell you that the early years sector isn’t paid very well!


However, we’re sure that you will find our exclusive Pay and Conditions Survey 2016, carried out with the Pre-school Learning Alliance, fascinating reading (pages 21-25).

The results show a stagnation in wages over the past few years, despite increases in the minimum wage and the introduction of the national living wage. This means that the average rates for the sector are being driven more and more towards the minimum levels of pay.

Funding for early years has not risen in line with the increase that settings have seen in running costs, so this seems an inevitable consequence.

The disparity for Early Years Teachers/Professionals against qualified teachers is very stark. Our survey uncovered an average hourly rate of £10.01 for EYTs, while their QTS counterparts are paid £21.97 an hour. No wonder that many taking EYT Status are moving straight on to a PGCE and then into schools.

It’s a major achievement, then, that three-quarters of settings responding to our survey employed at least one graduate, with a third having more than one in their workforce. What a shame that quality supplements to the free hours rate for hiring graduates may be lost in the funding reforms, as this could reverse the progress that has been made.

We asked respondents about the main reasons given by employees for leaving their company. A change of career and better pay were at the top, but it is interesting that career progression was third on the list.

Nursery World and the Pre-school Learning Alliance hope that our survey will provide useful evidence as the Workforce Strategy is discussed and implemented.

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