Commenting on Early Years Workforce Development in England, an EPI report funded by the Nuffield Foundation, Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said:

“This careful and detailed report shows that while early years provision has grown in size since 2010, it still suffers from serious issues of quality – issues which are the responsibility of Government.

“Conservative governments have had ten years in which to develop a qualified and skilled early years workforce – and they have failed to do so. Instead, ministers have devoted their attention to unpopular and ideologically driven proposals for changing the Early Years Foundation Stage.

“Government should learn the lesson of this report: serious change begins with funding, and with a sustained programme to improve workforce qualifications. Those who work in the Early Years sector will welcome opportunities to enhance their knowledge and skills, and to enter a secure and rewarding career.”