Commenting on the Department for Education’s campaign to attract early years workers, Daniel Kebede, General Secretary of the National Education Union, said:
"The early years sector has faced a long-standing recruitment and retention crisis. Any new remuneration is welcome to workers in this disgracefully low-paid sector. but this money does not get anywhere near what is needed to ensure our settings are well-staffed and ready for funded hour expansion.
"The announcement has all the signs of a desperate attempt to deal with a crisis of provision which everyone outside government has long seen coming. It may help with recruitment, but it will certainly do nothing for staff retention.
"We completely agree that early years professionals are some of the most important people in children’s lives. They should be rewarded with better pay in every pay packet - not just a one-off payment.
"The government also must recognise early years professionals for what they do - which is not childcare alone - it’s educating our youngest children to give them the best start in life.
"The government must also address the ongoing funding crisis affecting the early years sector. Funded hours expansions are not achievable if settings cannot afford to stay open. Maintained Nursery schools, which provide the highest quality of early education, face additional funding pressures; the government must do more to support their long-term future."