Childcare pay and conditions may make the crucial difference to effectiveness

Staff pay and conditions could be just as important as
qualifications in determining how well children do in early years
settings, according to the government’s chief researcher on
pre-school education.

Kathy Sylva, who leads the government funded research on
Effective Provision of Pre-school Education (EPPE) told a
conference the higher the proportion of trained teachers in an
early years setting, the higher the cognitive, social and emotional
development of the children .

But she said it was not possible to say whether this was because
of qualifications or working conditions.

Staff benefits such as earning a good salary, regular
appraisal,  and having decent working conditions including access
to a staff room with professional journals could account for the
difference in quality between early years settings with a trained
teacher and those without.

“Money matters. If you pay people well and give them good
conditions they are likely to do a good job”, said Silva at a
conference on children’s centres organised by the Daycare

The EPPE research found that while all children over two benefit
from pre-school provision,  there was no cognitive benefit before
the age of two. For over-twos, three hours a day was enough to gain
the benefits and there was some evidence that spending a lot of
hours in a centre is associated with a slightly increased risk of
anti-social behaviour, said Silva.

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