A charity has warned that children in England are at risk of falling behind before they start school due to a shortage of graduate early years teachers, the BBC reports.
Save the Children has warned of a shortage of almost 11,000 early years teachers working in English nurseries. It believes all nursery children should be taken care of by graduate early years professionals.
The charity evaluated data gained through a Freedom of Information request submitted to the Department for Education (DfE). It asserts that 10,731 nurseries, playgroups and children’s centres (out of the total 21,041) do not employ staff with qualified teacher status (QTS), early years teacher status (EYTS) or early years professional status (EYPS).
School teachers usually hold QTS, while the relatively equivalent EYTS and EYPS apply to early years education.
The figures have led Save the Children to predict that around 350,000 children at early years facilities are looked after by staff without these accreditations.
The charity is concerned the lack of qualified staff will negatively impact children, specifically those who are more vulnerable.
Director of poverty for Save the Children, Steven McIntosh, said: “Children who start behind, stay behind.”
He continued: “But high-quality childcare, led by graduate early years teachers, can ensure children are ready for school. So instead of lowering ambitions for childcare quality, the government should keep its promise to address the crisis in training, recruiting and retaining these underpaid and undervalued teachers.”
Addressing the issue of social mobility last week, education secretary Damian Hinds acknowledged: “It is a persistent scandal that we have children starting school not able to communicate in full sentences, not able to read simple words.”
Hinds pledges to halve the number of children starting school without the speaking and reading skills expected of them at that age.
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