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The early years workforce in England

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Bonetti, Sara
Publication Date: 
1 Jan 2019

Executive summary 

In the past decade, the government has introduced several policies to increase and improve early years provision. These policies have resulted in a number of changes to the sector that have also had an impact on the workforce. The aims of this report are to provide a detailed analysis of the early years workforce in relation to demographic characteristics, education and training, and employment conditions, and to explore how key features have changed over time. The report also analyses early years practitioners in the context of the wider workforce, allowing us to determine if trends are similar to those for other workers.

We use 2006-18 data from the Labour Force Survey to compare four groups of workers:

  • The ‘childcare workers’: including nursery nurses and assistants, childminders and people in related occupations, playworkers, teaching assistants, and educational support assistants. This group could be considered akin (although not a perfect match) to staff working for private, voluntary and independent providers (PVIs) and as childminders, rather than for all of early years professionals.
  • The ‘teaching workers’: comprised of primary and nursery teachers, secondary teachers, and special needs education teachers.
  • Workers in ‘competing occupations’: such as hairdressers, beauticians and people employed in similar jobs, which are often seen as career alternatives for students with poor academic records and women returning to work after having children.
  • The entire female working population.
Entered Date: 
30 Jan 2019
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