More than two-thirds of nurseries in Wales have experienced difficulties recruiting Level 3 qualified practitioners, according to the National Day Nurseries Association’s (NDNA) latest Workforce Survey for Wales.

The survey reveals that early years providers in Wales are also facing challenges with staff retention as Level 3 staff made up 64% of all leavers in the past year.

There is currently an increased demand for nursery places due to the roll-out of the Childcare Offer for Wales, which offers three and four-year-olds of working parents 30 hours of funded childcare and early education for 48 weeks of the year. The report suggests that this demand is putting pressure on the sector and has contributed to the difficulty in staff recruitment.

The survey also found that the turnover of staff in Welsh nurseries is at 19.4% which is higher than the average across all industries, but lower than in the early years workforces in England (24%) and Scotland (29%).

NDNA Cymru is now recommending that:

  • the Welsh Government monitor and review annually the rising costs of delivering the Childcare Offer for Wales

  • the hourly rates paid through the Foundation Phase and Childcare Offer be aligned nationally to support the sustainability of the non-maintained sector and ensure they are able to offer parental choice and further invest in upskilling their workforce

  • the Welsh Government continues to invest in the workforce to support retention of Level 3 qualified staff, career progression and professionalising the workforce

  • the Welsh Government continues its support to active and inclusive recruitment programmes within the childcare, early years and play sector.

Purnima Tanuku, chief executive of the NDNA, said:

“Research shows that a skilled and knowledgeable early years workforce provides a strong foundation for a child’s learning and development. It’s the dedication of staff in nurseries that provide the high-quality provision which gives children the best outcomes.”

“Employers are restricted by Government funding for Foundation Phase and Childcare Offer, so many cannot reward their qualified and experienced staff in the way they would want to. While there is evidence that the 100 per cent business rates relief is supporting nurseries to be more sustainable, more needs to be done.”

“As minimum wages increase each year, alongside other costs, nurseries need to have the reassurance that funding rates match these rising costs. As other costs rise, it is not surprising to see that nurseries are struggling to increase their current training budgets to support upskilling the workforce.”

“We are pleased that the Welsh Government is currently undertaking a pilot in Flintshire to align the Childcare Offer and Foundation Phase rates but this needs to be addressed across Wales to support the sector nationally.”

The full report is available here.

Last reviewed 16 September 2019