Share your early years story

Early years staff and volunteers are invited to share their experience of the pandemic in a new study launched by Ceeda today.

The early years workforce has been at the forefront in the battle against coronavirus, supporting the needs of our most vulnerable children and helping to ensure key workers can do their jobs.

The sector has also been hit hard by lockdown measures. Widespread setting closures mean many staff have been furloughed, whilst others have fallen through support gaps and find themselves facing a very uncertain future.

Rarely in the national spotlight when it comes to recognising contribution or protecting health and well-being, the study will illuminate workers’ experience and needs going forward.

Dr Jo Verrill, managing director at Ceeda said:

“Systemic underfunding and rising costs have meant many providers were running on a hand-to-mouth basis before the coronavirus pandemic hit, with early years staff being amongst the lowest paid in the country. It is time for the contribution of the early years workforce to be fully recognised and understood, and their needs supported.

As the sector navigates its way through the crisis, this study will provide a direct channel for staff to voice their concerns, highlight their amazing work and provide the understanding needed to rebuild a strong, vibrant and well-rewarded workforce for the future. This is a key focus of the recently launched Early Years Workforce Commission, of which we are proud to be a part.”

All employees and volunteers working in a childcare setting at the beginning of March this year are invited to take part in the study, which will capture views every three months. Take part even if you are no longer working in an early years role.  

The study is funded by the Early Years Alliance, CACHE, Connect Childcare and Bertram Nursery Group, and is supported by Nursery World, PACEY, NDNA, LEYF and other leading sector organisations. It forms part of a wider programme of work, including research with self- employed childminders and setting owners.  

Welcoming the research, Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Early Years Alliance said:

"It is absolutely critical that Ceeda undertake this new workforce study in order to fully understand the impact that the battle against Coronavirus is having on those working in the early years sector. The commitment of our workforce as they continue to put themselves at risk in order to ensure continuity of care for the most vulnerable children and for the children of fellow key workers must receive the recognition and support it deserves. 

This study is integral for the sector, as we look ahead to the post-coronavirus future and establish the steps to rebuild a workforce that is both well-supported and well-rewarded.  

This research will not only provide a mechanism for the championing of such work but also for staff to share their concerns, hopes and ambitions for the future of the early years sector. 

We are proud to be a partner of this new Early Years Workforce study and we hope these findings will ensure that the government provides the sector with the long-term support it desperately needs."