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Childcare recruitment ‘catastrophe’

Childcare recruitment ‘catastrophe’ looms, say campaigners.

The requirement for new nursery staff in England to have good GCSE passes in English and maths will lead to “catastrophic” staff shortages and should be scrapped, campaigners say.

From September, new recruits must have at least GCSE C grades in the subjects, with alternative equivalent qualifications no longer accepted.

The Save our Early Years campaign says recruitment has already been hit.

But the government says numeracy and literacy skills are “essential”.

Staff ratios

Under the current rules, staff are only allowed to look after specific numbers of children.

 One-year-olds and younger – one member of staff to three children
  • Two-year-olds – one member of staff to four children
  • Three- and four-year-olds – one member of staff to eight children or one to 13 if the group is teacher-led

Although nurseries will still be able to hire staff without good GCSEs, these staff will  not count towards the ratios.

Carol Medcalf, the managing director of an award-winning nursery in north London, who supports the campaign, called the rule “a huge barrier”.

“I strongly feel, and this is backed up by experience, that the GCSE requirement, especially in maths, is a huge barrier for many wonderful staff entering the profession, and they become unemployable, which is crazy”, she said.

“I myself do not have maths GCSE – yet I have run a highly respected, multi-award winning, Ofsted outstanding nursery for over 25 years, and I manage to get the business figures right.”