Editor's view - Drowning in paper

Why staff don't want to stay in the early years

Our recent news story about a survey showing that well over half of early years professionals were considering leaving their jobs prompted many heartfelt responses from our readers.

Workload was cited in the survey as the main reason for people wanting to move away from early years employment, well above those who cited low pay or lack of quality support.

Interestingly, it was the paperwork aspects of the job that most concerned those who responded to the story, and this was common to managers running a nursery and the practitioners.

One said, ‘I wonder why we have to do all these learning journals and summative assessments when it is not a statutory requirement to attend a nursery or pre-school.’ The paperwork ate into the staff’s family time, she said, meaning that quite a few had left.

It is obvious that most early years professionals are truly dedicated, with nearly all in the survey saying they entered this line of work to make a difference to children’s lives.

And yet from the survey, and from the responses we received, it is clear that may are starting to feel that they have had enough. The Government has launched a ‘Workload Challenge’ to tackle such problems for teachers in school, but there is no such help in prospect in the early years sector.

With a recruitment crisis already causing huge problems for nurseries, this is worrying indeed.

If you need cheering up after this, there is plenty in this issue of Nursery World to remind us all of the joy and satisfaction of working with birth to fives – the creativity and spontaneity of transient art, children playing ukuleles, and others experiencing beetroot from the earth through to the plate!

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