At a time when 30 hours is in the press and the Government is looking to increase childcare places for working parents the biggest barrier outside of the funding rate is the ability to staff nurseries and maintain ratios.
Whist we are all keen to raise standards I am not convinced the GCSE requirement has been the answer. If it was we would never have had the quality of carers and managers we have today. Most of our employees have entered the childcare sector as it is vocational in nature and the GCSE is creating a barrier to entry.
Childcare college graduates are down, apprentices are down, vacancies in Surrey for level 3 are at a high at 45%. We are strangling the industry and putting it at odds with the Government’s strategy to increase childcare access. I agree there should be a benchmark for entry and we would welcome a move to functional skills. Every month the situation is getting worse. Change is needed now otherwise it will be more than just the funding rate behind the failure of the 30 hours for working parents!