Early Years Workforce Review: A joint statement by Prof. Chris Pascal and Prof. Tony Bertram

25-Aug-2020

 

Today sees the launch of the Early Years Workforce Review, a new report from the Sutton Trust and the Centre for Research in Early Childhood that reviews recent developments in early years policy and sets out a framework for urgent action to improve social mobility in the early years.

According to the report, "Generations of talent are being lost through a lack of investment in the early years workforce" which risks widening inequality in our society.

Below, you can read the official statement by CREC Directors, Prof. Chris Pascal and Prof. Tony Bertram who, together with Aline Cole-Albäck, have authored the review.

We are really excited to see the timely publication of the new Early Years Workforce Review we have undertaken for the Sutton Trust which looks at key developments of government policy and practice since Cathy Nutbrown’s seminal 2012 review on how best to strengthen qualifications and career pathways in the early years and childcare sector.
 
The review restates the case that skilled and well-qualified practitioners are a key element of high quality early education and care and make a proven difference to child learning and development, particularly for children from low income and at risk families. As we move into a new phase of policy making and sector development, the review aims to provide a rigorous evidence base which can inform future priorities for the government’s early years workforce strategy as they attempt to mitigate the growing inequalities in society which have been widened further by the COVID pandemic. It is clear that progress towards achieving a world class early years workforce has stalled and, in some respects, the challenges facing the sector have worsened since 2012. The urgency in developing a well-qualified and professionalised early years workforce which has the capacity to transform young lives, especially for those from less advantaged homes, remains, eight years on from the Nutbrown’s informed and well received review.
There are some key challenges in achieving the ambitious agenda set out in both the 2012 and 2020 reviews which are sharpened in the current context of a post-pandemic and post-BREXIT world. The costs of establishing and sustaining a highly qualified early years workforce are significant but should be seen as an investment in human capital for future generations and a signal of the importance given to securing social mobility for our left behind young children.
 
Changing government and public perceptions of a sector which to date has been viewed as providing primarily a childcare function, to a sector which is seen as a highly professionalised and vital foundational element of our educational system, with both the capability and the capacity to drive much needed social and economic renewal is ambitious, but rightly so.
 
There has never been a time when the case for investment in this vital sector of our economy has been more needed or more thoroughly evidenced. If not now, when? Generations of much needed talent are being lost through the lack of vision and investment in the early years workforce and we cannot afford to delay any longer.

 



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