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A group of early years sector experts have joined forces to launch the Early Years Workforce Commission, to undertake a review of the workforce challenges facing the sector and develop comprehensive and workable solutions.

Against a backdrop of wider funding and other well-documented challenges facing the early years sector, the overarching goal of the Early Years Workforce Commission is to ensure that the importance of the early years sector is recognised and that it offers a rewarding and attractive career path.

The Commission’s steering group is made up of representatives from key organisations including CACHE, the leading awarding organisation for early years and childcare qualifications; leading provider of independent research and intelligence for the early years sector CEEDA; membership bodies Early Education, The Early Years Alliance, PACEY, TACTYC and NDNA, nursery group, the London Early Years Foundation; research organisation, the Education Policy Institute, education charity the Sutton Trust and Voice, The union for education professionals.

Together, these organisations are well-placed to develop a holistic and effective workforce strategy.

The Commission will undertake a review of the current state of play for the early years workforce, looking at progress made since the 2012 Nutbrown Review, with a view to developing a set of recommendations that supports the long-term sustainability of the sector, enables it to continue to deliver high-quality provision and gives young children the very best start in life.

The Commission wants to engage a broad range of organisations and experts, as well as providers, early years practitioners, parents and the wider public in debate and discussion. It will hold two evidence sessions as part of its work, one focusing on recruitment and retention, and another on training and CPD, as well as issuing a broader call for evidence and ideas.

 It aims to publish a report with recommendations later this year. This will include solutions designed to:

  • Improve the basic training of those entering the sector
  • Improve quality and take-up of CPD for those already in the sector
  • Explore the implications of low levels of pay
  • Improve recruitment and retention across the workforce
  • Demonstrate the impact and crucial role of the early years workforce in society

Speaking on behalf of the Commission, Julie Hyde, Executive Director of Education and Training at NCFE and CACHE, said:

“Following a roundtable we held in the Houses of Commons in late 2018 bringing together policy makers and representatives from across the sector, it became clear that whilst the problems facing the sector were well-established, to move the conversation forward, we needed to develop evidence-based solutions. After further discussion we decided to focus on workforce issues. Whilst these are just one part of the puzzle, we believe that an effective workforce strategy is crucial to underpin the long-term sustainability of the sector and quality of provision.

“We hope to be able to put forward a solutions-focused plan, with key recommendations for the Government and others, to support the early years workforce be recognised as the highly professional, talented and committed individuals they are. Ultimately, we want to ensure the long-term sustainability of this sector, which plays such a crucial role in our society and economy.”

“To enable us to develop a strong and credible set of recommendations, we will be working closely with organisations across the sector and beyond and we would encourage anyone who wants to be involved to share their ideas.”

Professor Cathy Nutbrown, said:

“High quality Early Years provision is crucial to society. It is vital that the women and men who work with babies, toddlers and young children have the knowledge, skills, understanding and aptitude to appropriately support their learning and development. In so doing, they should be entitled to opportunities to develop successful and rewarding careers. 


“Foundations for Quality, published in 2012, recommended to Government, the need for a well-qualified and properly remunerated workforce, and this was widely welcomed by the early education and childcare sector. I said at the time that resolving the problems that existed was an urgent matter, and it remains so.  I therefore welcome the establishment of the Early Years Workforce Commission which will consider the current situation and how the remaining challenges can be addressed. If the current crisis in recruitment and retention continues, it threatens much needed high-quality provision. 


“I look forward to supporting the group with this timely and important work and seeing the final report and recommendations.”

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