A valuable sector undervalued by the sector itself?

A valuable sector undervalued by the sector itself?

The original title for our blog was ‘Could we be moving towards a better [paid] sector?’ Whilst we have seen a small incremental increase in the salary offered to a qualified practitioner in the last 4 years, this is merely a result of supply not meeting demand – without a doubt it is a qualified practitioner’s market. Should a practitioner salary reflect the value of the role or the shortage of supply? Would there be a shortage if the salary reflected the value of the role?

As controversial as its aforementioned title, we are not questioning the ethics of childcare providers. More so we are [unapologetically] questioning the sector as a whole. Let us explain the rationale behind our thinking.

Government describes the national curriculum as “sets out the programmes of study and attainment targets for all subjects at all 4 key stages.” Government defines these key stages as “The national curriculum is organised into blocks of years called ‘key stages’ (KS). At the end of each key stage, the teacher will formally assess your child’s performance.” It goes on to include key stage years 3-4 and 4-5 as ‘early years’. So is ‘early years’ a key stage, and if so, why does this key stage start at 3 years and not birth?

The simple fact is this – nursery practitioners teach a curriculum. Parents pay nurseries to teach that curriculum. Just like a primary, junior and secondary school teaches a curriculum – the expectation is clear. Is one less important than the other? If Early Years is part of the ‘educational stage’ then the role of a qualified practitioner is to teach. There is a plethora of research supporting how early years education paves the way in child development through these ‘educational stages’.

The sector needs to take its sector seriously. A ‘practitioner’, ‘teacher’, or ‘educator’ implies expert, so we should stop calling them ‘nurses’. Are teachers in schools called ‘school nurses’? It verges on comical. The training should reflect the seriousness of the role, and the role should reflect the seriousness of the job. If we get this bit right, the sector should work towards set salary scales like schools and fund providers accordingly.

Purple Dove Recruitment work with over 70 good and outstanding nurseries across London and Home Counties – many offer genuine progression and excellent remuneration and benefit packages. Whether you are an aspiring nursery practitioner wanting to gain an Early Years qualification, or an experienced and qualified practitioner looking for an employer that will truly value your qualification and experience, call us on 0203 633 4014 for an informal and confidential chat.

We believe you deserve to be recognised!