The government has announced a new strategy to address the teacher recruitment and retention crisis in England. Within the strategy teachers will be offered retention bonuses in their third and fifth year of teaching and there will improved provision for job share. Secretary of State for Education, Damian Hinds said “in a competitive graduate labour market we must continue to ensure that teaching is an attractive profession so we can train and retain the next generation of inspirational teachers.”
But what a wasted opportunity to not also include Early Years teachers in a strategy.
Early Years teachers suffer from worse pay & conditions, MUCH shorter holidays, higher turnover, lower investment in training and much longer hours than teachers in secondary or primary schools.
There are unfilled vacancies in our day nurseries and preschools, so children are actually being turned away through insufficient staff. Yet younger children have the greatest human capacity of all to learn, and their learning influences their whole lives, both financially and in the quality of their lives.
Investing in our youngest children has been proven to be the best, most cost effective investment a country can make, but the UK isn’t doing it enough. Other nations are, so in fact we are second bottom of the OECD list of 34 countries in terms of investment in our children and in levels of happiness in our children. We must invest in our children, which means investing in the people who teach them.