Union members, UWU Director of Early Education Helen Gibbons said, have voiced concerns that the Summit may not commit to the full extent of reform required to fix the issues plaguing the early childhood education and care (ECEC) workforce. A recent survey of educators has shown that the crisis is urgent and growing, with 88 per cent of respondents saying that if nothing changes, they do not see themselves remaining in the sector for the long term.
Nearly all of those who responded (98.5 per cent) said that the staffing shortages are impacting the quality of care and education that children are receiving, while over 99 per cent said workload and staffing issues in the sector have left them feeling “burnt out and undervalued”. “The results are in – educators cannot afford to stay in the sector, and the sector cannot deliver quality early learning without educators. We need real reform now,” Ms Gibbons said. “Early education is still facing an ever-worsening staffing crisis due to unmanageable workloads, stress and low wages. 81 per cent of centre directors say they have had difficulties in attracting and recruiting staff,” she added. “We know that all around the country, services are being forced to cap enrolments or close rooms because they simply cannot stem the tide of fed-up educators leaving the sector every day.” Educators who responded to the survey wanted to share the following insights: