David Johnston, minister for children, visits Havant nursery as Conservatives launch recruitment campaign

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A government minister has visited a Havant nursery as the Conservatives launch a national recruitment campaign to entice more people to work in the early learning sector.

Johnston said: "This is all part of the government's big expansion of childcare which is going to mean that by next September, working parents will be able to get 30 hours of free childcare every week from when the children are nine months old until they start school. They will be able to claim the first 15 hours of that for their two-year-olds from this April.

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"We have just launched a big national recruitment campaign to get more people to consider working in the early years. What many people don't understand is that there is a great range of roles available at places like Tops Havant and elsewhere. You can have a key role in developing young minds at a really early stage. 80 per cent of our brain development happens in the first five years of life. What people are doing here is playing a really crucial role for how children will develop into adults, we want more people to do those roles."

Minister for Children, David Johnston, visited Tops Day Nursery in Havant, to meet apprentices as the government launches an national recruitment campaign for the early years sector. Pictured is: David Johnston speaks to David Tului (4) and Anne Perera, casual practitioner.

Picture: Sarah Standing (080224-6622)Minister for Children, David Johnston, visited Tops Day Nursery in Havant, to meet apprentices as the government launches an national recruitment campaign for the early years sector. Pictured is: David Johnston speaks to David Tului (4) and Anne Perera, casual practitioner.

Picture: Sarah Standing (080224-6622)
Minister for Children, David Johnston, visited Tops Day Nursery in Havant, to meet apprentices as the government launches an national recruitment campaign for the early years sector. Pictured is: David Johnston speaks to David Tului (4) and Anne Perera, casual practitioner. Picture: Sarah Standing (080224-6622) | Sarah Standing

As part of the national recruitment drive the government has also announced it is trialling a £1,000 fee for people starting or returning to early years roles. This is only applicable to 20 local authorities, none of which are in the local area. However, Mr Johnston said that if the trial was successful they would potentially looked to roll it out to further areas. While the scheme has been welcomed as a step in the right direction, some have questioned whether it does enough to improve the current staffing crisis that the sector is facing. The Early Years Alliance, a registered educational charity, believes it will not help with staff retention going forwards with fairer wages the best way to encourage staff to remain in the sector.

Mr Johnston responded to the point stating: "We have made considerable increases to the amount of money that we are paying so places like this can increase their salaries. Last year we saw a 13,000 increase in the number of staff joining the early years sector. We know we are going to need more to deliver the full role out of 30 hours by next September and that is what this big campaign is all about."

While some of the financial incentives are not on offer in our region, Conservative MP for Havant Alan Mak has heralded the campaign a great moment for local people. He said: "We have got some fantastic nurseries and we have got some fantastic people that work in our nurseries. This extra funding will expand that and it will boost apprenticeships as well. This is a great initiative for our area and it's going to help parents and children. It's great news."

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