The stability of the early years workforce in England: An examination of national, regional and organizational barriers


This report sheds a light on some of these disparities for the early years workforce. It includes a review of the relevant literature; an analysis of quantitative data covering a large representative sample of workers in England; and 40 interviews with early years practitioners, setting managers and local policy-makers. The most common barriers identified in all three strands of research were pay, work demands, certain demographic characteristics, training and the organisational climate of the early years provider. 

The study addresses the following research questions:

  • How stable is the EY workforce in England?
  • What are the main barriers to stability?
  • How do these barriers vary by region?
  • How do these barriers vary by provider type?

Social Mobility Commission

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Resisting Neoliberalism: Professionalisation of Early Childhood Education and Care


Resisting Neoliberalism: Professionalisation of Early Childhood Education and Care focuses on the professionalization of early childhood in Australia, Chile, England, Germany, Ireland and the United States.

This paper questions how the sector manages the constraints imposed by a neoliberal political and social world and calls upon manages the constraints imposed on it in a neoliberal political and social world. It calls on professionals to take a stand in terms of what is considered best practice. The paper further argues that continued debate is needed around the boundaries of what is called the early childhood profession, considering the ways in which the education, health and welfare sectors contribute to a holistic approach balanced against the requirement for a profession to have an identified and discrete body of knowledge.


Mary Moloney, Margaret Sims, Antje Rothe, Cynthia Buettner


International Electronic Journal of Elementary Education

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WEBINAR | A Spotlight on the Working Conditions of the Early Childhood Workforce


In many countries around the world, the early childhood workforce often experiences poor recognition for their work which translates to lower wages and qualifications, fewer opportunities for career development and inadequate professional development, in comparison with other professionals working to support older children and adults.

Recently, the Early Childhood Workforce Initiative conducted key informant interviews in 15 countries to understand country priorities and challenges, as well as promising approaches to supporting the early childhood workforce. The recruitment and retention of staff and volunteers as well as working conditions were among the major challenges surfaced in those conversations.

The webinar will address the following questions pertaining to the theme:

  • What working conditions do members of the early childhood workforce face?
  • To what extent are challenging working conditions a barrier in recruiting and retaining the early childhood workforce?
  • To what extent do working conditions influence the quality of service delivery?
  • What efforts have been taken in different countries to improve the working conditions of various categories of early childhood workers?

- How do countries design and implement such efforts in the face of resource constraints?

- What factors can support the introduction of policies to improve working conditions?

- What challenges are encountered in introducing these policies?

This discussion aims to cover different country contexts, and will refer to various categories of professionals and paraprofessionals from different sectors.

This webinar is intended for policymakers and program implementers interested in learning more about the working conditions that members of the early childhood workforce face as well as approaches that have been used to improve them.

Access the recording via the YouTube link below. You may also resources from the webinar, such as reccomended readings from the panel and the webinar slides, here.

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The early years workforce in England


The early years workforce in England from the Education Policy Institute (EPI) compares conditions and characteristics of childcare workers with those in occupations that are often regarded as career alternatives.

The report highlights several key findings:

  • A large proportion of childcare workers are struggling financially
  • Sector recruitment problems: immediate and long-term
  • The workforce has low qualifications, which could affect the quality of childcare provision
  • The workforce remains predominantly female
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The early years workforce: a fragmented picture


The early years workforce: a fragmented picture, produced by the Education Policy Institute, gathered administrative data about early years providers and staff in England. The aim of this report was to create a clearer picture of the demographics, pay and qualification levels of the early years workforce. Further, the report set out to understand how these characteristics vary across school-based settings, private, voluntary and independent providers and childminders.

This project used readily available, official resources in order to generate new researched questions that require additional analysis. The early years workforce: a fragmented picture provides a glance into early years provision in England, data about the workforce and the implications for children in funded provision.

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