Updated: Nov 15, 2022
Working in Early Years is more than just a profession. It’s a passion. With those working in the sector arguably some of the most caring and nurturing people you will come across. But this wonderful characteristic is proving to be our downfall.
From childminders who welcome children into their own home and naturally merge the child into their family life, through to the practitioners and Manager/owners who work tirelessly to build a successful and nurturing provision and business. We are all valuable, equal and worthy in our fight for justice...
It’s human nature to form relationships with the children and families we work for. However it’s these attachments which keep us up at night fretting over the money we are losing each day due to the atrocious underfunding and treatment we receive from the Government.
Since the introduction of Universal and Extended funding, the Government have refused to increase funding in line with the costs of living, national minimum wage or other rises the UK have faced. In some cases, some providers have seen just a 7p increase in their funding during the last 5 years. How it this acceptable and WHY have we put up with this?
The pitiful increase in funding across the UK has caused catastrophic consequences to all who provide such a valuable service to families across the Country… we have screamed, begged and pleaded for realistic funding increases to help us cover the basic costs of delivery and pay our incredible staff (and ourselves!) salaries reflective of their high quality and experience... And the Government have ignored each and every call for help.
They know providers are in a ‘Catch 22’ position. If we stop offering funded hours or raise our fees to cover the costs, families will simply choose a different setting and our business will collapse. And this ‘Catch 22’ which is why I believe the Government are purposely underfunding Early Years; because they can get away with it. I believe they take this liberty because we are naturally a very caring sector who have been groomed into ‘making do’. From using food banks, buying resources from our own pockets, working for free etc – we do this because we have cared far too much about the families we work for and too little about ourselves. Believe me, the last sentence was incredibly hard to write, as I’m sure you’ll all understand first hand.
But when will enough be ENOUGH?
Will it be when we’ve used all our own personal savings to keep the business afloat?
Will it be when we are forced to increase fees so high to cover our costs that parents simply can’t afford to use us, and our business collapses?
Will it be when practitioners realise they could get paid far more working at their local supermarket with less stress and as a result we will have no staff left?
…Or, will it be when we join our sector together and say NO MORE to the Government. No longer will we use our own savings to keep afloat because we are underfunded…. No longer will we count LITERAL pennies to see if we can afford to provide toast for children's snack... No longer will we work for free… No longer will we accept funding that doesn’t cover the costs of delivery… And no longer will we put ourselves at the bottom of the pile.
With over 4000 provisions closing in the last year alone, I believe the time to say NO MORE is now!
It is time to unite our sector under one banner – Early Year Equality, and fight for our families, our practitioners, our businesses. I won’t sugar coat it and say it’s going to be easy. It won’t. Some tough decisions will have to be made, but if we work together, I believe we can start to have our voice heard strong and true. If you don’t believe me, just look at our wonderful nurses who have been forced to make an almost unfathomable decision and are deciding to strike. It must be so incredibly hard to have to make that decision, as they know it will have a direct effect on the people who need them most. But it’s something they must do. And we must make some hard decisions too.
We must stand up and demand fairer funding, fairer policy and treatment and respect for our Early Years sector. We are worth so much more than the treatment we are all currently receiving.
We are stronger together, so let us stand as one. Sign up to www.earlyyearsequality.com and join the fight!
WE MUST SHOUT SO LOUD, WE CANNOT BE IGNORED ANYMORE!