More than 2,000 people have backed a call from Save the Children for the government to invest in more graduate early years teachers.
It comes after the charity accused the DfE of breaking a pledge about plans to expand early years teaching in disadvantaged areas.
In last year’s Early Years Workforce Strategy, the DfE promised to conduct a feasibility study by March 2018 into developing a programme to grow the graduate workforce in disadvantaged areas – but nothing has yet been published.
Mother-of-two Temi Olusola today delivered a letter to the DfE, supported by Save the Children and signed by more than 2,000 people, asking the government to take urgent action to ensure that all children have access to quality childcare led by qualified early years teachers.
It says that “we have seen no progress” in the year since the government published its strategy and adds: “In fact, things seem to be going backwards.
“In 2017-18, only 595 people enrolled on training to be early years teachers. This is far short of what is needed to give children the support they deserve. More worryingly still, that number is falling year after year.
“Nurseries are doing a great job with the resources they have, but a quarter of a million children don’t have access to an early years teacher, putting them at risk of falling behind. We need to see action now, or a generation of children could be left behind.”
Charlotte Lynch, Save the Children’s UK policy advisor, said: “At the end of March, the government’s own deadline expired and it broke its promise on early years teachers. No visible progress has been made and we understand there are no plans to make any soon.
“The government can't be allowed to sweep its promise on early years education under the carpet.”
Earlier this month, the DfE said: “We are considering a range of approaches to supporting graduates in the early years workforce, including getting more working in disadvantaged areas. Further information will be made available in due course.”