A new report by the United Workers Union (UWU) has warned early education is on the brink of crisis if wages and conditions of early educators are not urgently fixed.
The Exhausted, undervalued and leaving: the crisis in early education report found almost three-quarters (73%) of nearly 4000 educators surveyed plan to leave the sector within the next three years. It includes reports that early learning centres are reducing room sizes and enrolments because they can’t find staff.
The Parenthood Executive Director Georgie Dent said early educators, children and parents were let down by the Federal government’s ongoing failure to recognise and respect the value of Australia’s early education workforce.
“Early childhood education and care needs urgent reform. This new UWU survey of educators proves it. The covid crisis and ongoing lockdowns prove it.
“Providers and educators in Greater Sydney right now deserve the same support that parents and educators in Melbourne received last year.
“What they don’t deserve is being left with the burden of figuring out how to keep their centres float or the impact on workers’ family budgets when income support is not adequate.
“It comes as no surprise that the UWU report found educators have been subjected to a more stressful and anxious working environment since the start of the pandemic. In addition, nearly half (49%) of educators said they have needed more time to manage children’s anxiety and more than half (53%) said they have needed more time to manage parent anxiety.
“We know close, ongoing relationships between children and their educators is vital for young children’s learning and their emotional development. The Federal government should be doing everything it can to ease the pressure of inadequate support for educators and high turnover,” she said.
The Exhausted, undervalued and leaving: the crisis in early education report is available here: https://bigsteps.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/Exhausted-undervalued-and-leaving.pdf