Nursery staff needed in Wales for the expansion of free childcare
According to a recent BBC News article, the Welsh government is planning to extend free childcare to cover all two-year-olds in Wales. However, this expansion will only happen if more nursery workers can be recruited into Nursery schools.
Julie Morgan, who oversees the extension of the policy, said it was "quite difficult" to find staff. The Welsh government is investing £70m to improve nursery settings and boost capacity. The cost of childcare in the UK is among the most expensive in the world, according to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. The policy is expected to be delivered by 2026.
Current childcare provision in Wales
At present, around 90% of three and four-year-olds in Wales receive some free early education. This amounts to 10 hours per week of government-funded childcare.
For eligible two-year-olds, only around 60% receive the free 10 hours per week of childcare. Eligibility depends on certain criteria, such as parents being on income support or receiving working tax credits.
The Welsh government's plan is to extend the 10 hours per week of free childcare to all two-year-olds in Wales by 2026. This means an additional 18,000 children would benefit.
Challenges in recruiting more nursery staff
However, the policy expansion is dependent on recruiting more nursery staff across Wales. The coronavirus pandemic worsened shortages in the childcare sector, with some workers leaving the industry.
There are particular staff shortages in certain areas of Wales, like the Southeast.
Recruitment difficulties are due to several factors:
Low wages - Nursery staff are among the lowest-paid workers in the UK, often earning near minimum wage levels. This makes recruitment and retention difficult
Lack of career progression - Options to progress professionally and take on more senior roles are limited in the childcare sector. This reduces its appeal compared to other industries
Perceptions of low skills - Childcare is often viewed as low-skilled. But nursery staff require training in areas like child development, safety, learning activities, and more
COVID impacts - Some nursery staff left the sector due to health concerns or childcare issues during the pandemic
Investing in nursery staff and settings
To give a boost to nursery staff levels, the Welsh government is investing £70 million until 2026. This funding will:
Support staff training to ensure there are enough people qualified for the Level 2 Nursery jobs and Level 3 Nursery jobs, giving staff and potential staff more development opportunities
Improve nursery environments through new equipment, resources, and refurbishments
Help to ensure staff well-being and progression opportunities for nursery roles within nurseries and childcare providers
Potentially increase staff wages as nurseries will have more funding support
The goals are to enhance job quality, make roles and a career in childcare more appealing, attract more people to the sector, and provide better childcare for children in Wales.
High childcare costs in the UK
The expansion of free early years education in Wales aims to reduce the burden of childcare costs for families in and out of school term time.
According to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the UK has some of the highest childcare costs among developed countries.
For a family with two young children using standard nursery provision, costs can easily exceed £1,000 per month.
High costs put pressure on family budgets and can disincentivise parents from working more hours or pursuing career progression.
Free childcare helps make work more affordable for parents. It may also improve child development outcomes.
Potential benefits of expanded free childcare
Extending childcare coverage for two-year-olds could have various benefits, including:
Supporting child development - High-quality early years education helps cognitive, language and social development
Improving school readiness - Children receiving earlier education tend to transition better to infant and primary school environments
Enabling greater parental employment - Affordable childcare removes barriers to parents working more hours
Reducing inequality - Children from lower-income families likely benefit most from early years education
Providing cost of living help - Free childcare saves families over £2,500 per year in costs
However, these benefits depend on there being sufficient nursery staff to provide high-quality provision across Wales.
Outlook for achieving expanded childcare by 2026
The Welsh government faces challenges in achieving its aim of extending childcare to all two-year-olds by 2026.
However, the proposed investments and initiatives aim to attract more qualified people and nursery assistants who want to complete their childcare qualifications into the nursery profession over the coming years.
If staffing levels can be substantially increased, the expanded childcare policy would be a significant step forward for early years education in Wales.
It would help many families with the costs and strains of raising young children. It would also give more children the best possible start in life through high-quality early learning care.
About The Flowers Day Nursery
In addition to before and after-school care provided for local primary schools with drop off and pick up, The Flowers Day Nursery provides a variety of flexible childcare options starting at the age of 3 months.
Whether you are looking for care for babies, toddlers, preschoolers, or children before and after-school care, we can help. In addition, we offer holiday care for children up to the age of eight.
In addition to childcare vouchers, we accept government funding as part of our wraparound service. With a home-like setting, we provide an environment focused on learning and play.
Our goal since opening in 2004 has been to provide outstanding childcare to children of all ages. Having a childcare provider you can trust is crucial when juggling work and a busy schedule. We offer flexible full-time and part-time childcare sessions and are open every weekday, except on bank holidays, from 07.30-18.30.
Our commitment is to work with you and your child to ensure that your child is settled, happy, content, and developing with us. You can tell us how they have been at the beginning of their day and if you have any concerns, and when you pick them up, we will tell you about their day, the activities they participated in, and how they have been.
At the Flowers, every child has a dedicated and qualified key worker who serves as their point of contact. A child's personal record book keeps track of their development, and you will receive regular updates from their key worker. In their personal record books, we keep track of their activities, milestones, and photos and update you regularly.
We plan nutritious and varied meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as snacks in the morning and afternoon. Our 5-Star Environmental Health Awarded kitchen prepares them all on-site. As part of our childcare costs, we also provide Pampers nappies.
We have staff certified in Level 2 and Level 3 childcare, food hygiene, child protection, and first aid.
In addition to our stringent recruiting and assessment processes, we only hire team members who are passionate about working with children.
Our dedicated team will continue to nurture your child and ensure each session with us is fun, interactive, and engaging.
Your child will learn and develop to their full potential in a happy, safe, and loving environment at the Flowers Day Nursery.
Providing exceptional and outstanding childcare to children aged 3 months to 8 years old is one of our greatest strengths in Swansea and the surrounding areas. The off-road parking at our City Centre location makes dropping off and picking up your child easy and safe.
In our dedicated rooms, children can play and learn based on the national curriculum in a caring and professional environment.
The Flowers focuses on children's development in all age groups:
Communication and language
Personal, social and emotional development
Understanding the world
Expressive arts and design
At The Flowers Day Nursery, we strive to provide professional, outstanding, caring child care in an environment that encourages children to thrive and grow. We are proud to be a family-focused daycare nursery that offers quality childcare without any hidden costs.
Our bright, interactive, and fun-filled facilities are perfect for children of different ages, from infants to toddlers to pre-schoolers and school-age children. We are happy to meet parents and guardians, discuss their child's requirements and needs, read our inspection reports, and show them our bright, interactive, and fun-filled facilities. If you would like a tour of our facility and to meet our team, please call 01792 46 44 45 or contact us using our online form.