Charity warning over childcare staffing crisis

Preschool

Staff are leaving third sector and private care providers for better paid council nurseries

8th August 2019 by Robert Armour 1 Comment

Scotland’s nurseries have one year to fix a workforce crisis, a charity has warned.

With one year to go before the full roll-out of the Scottish Government’s flagship compulsory hours provision, private and third sector nurseries are facing a staffing crisis according to National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA). 

Its workforce survey found almost three quarters of private sector nurseries in Scotland were struggling to recruit staff.

Staff turnover in the Scottish sector is also higher than anywhere else in the UK, with 29% leaving their post within a year.

The group said most private practitioners had been enticed to local authority-run nurseries and schools, with the private sector struggling to compete.

Salaries are often higher at council-run nurseries because they pay higher salaries.

NDNA said the Scottish Government had not intended to squeeze out private and voluntary-run nurseries, but that its policies provided a “real threat” to parental choice because of the “unintended consequences” of staff leaving the private sector.

Purnima Tanuku chief executive of NDNA, said: “Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) providers in the private and voluntary sectors are telling us that they are losing staff at an unsustainable rate.

“The most common issue is staff leaving to work at a council run setting, as local authorities continue to expand their own provision ahead of August 2020. Some nurseries have said that even paying the Real Living Wage, they cannot compete with salaries on offer from local authorities.

“Ministers and the Scottish Government have made it clear that they want to see
private and voluntary providers, alongside childminders, playing a crucial role in the
delivery of the expanded 1140 hours offer.

“All providers share their aim of high quality, accessible, flexible and affordable childcare for families and children. However, the workforce crisis we are seeing threatens providers’ sustainability and parental choice.

“We will continue to push for the recognition and reward that ELC staff so richly
deserve – only in this way will we attract more of the right people into the sector, retain them and then develop them into the early years leaders of the future.”

Children's Minister Maree Todd said: "This survey represents less than a quarter of private sector nurseries.

"We have increased training opportunities and routes into the sector, alongside our recruitment campaigns, and enabled providers to advertise for free on the campaign site.

"As a result, there are more people than ever before working in early learning and childcare, with a 40,000-strong workforce."

She added: "Local authority funding to private providers has also increased significantly, with rates increasing by 26% over the two years to this August and further increases expected from the implementation of 1,140 hours next year.

"Private providers deliver high-quality early learning and childcare and we will continue to invest to support expansion and work with the sector, including the NDNA."

9th August 2019 by Graham McCulloch

"Charity warning over childcare staffing crisis""Salaries are often higher at council-run nurseries because they pay higher salaries." (sic)Really ?So what you are saying is that staff salaries are higher because employers pay higher salaries ?I'll maybe not worry so much about some of the other points in the article then !- almost three quarters of private sector nurseries in Scotland were struggling to recruit staff.- Staff turnover in the Scottish sector …. 29% leaving their post within a year.Really ?I can't for the life of me think why that might be ....