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The Department for Education has released the results of the latest wave of a series of rapid surveys which have been specifically designed to capture evidence throughout the Coronavirus pandemic. This survey, the 4th (November/December 2021), was put in place to provide a representative, stand-alone snapshot of all early years providers operating in England, in 2021.

At wave 4, only providers who were open at the time of the survey or were temporarily closed but had been open in the past 30 days were eligible to take part, however, during waves 1 (July 2020), 2 (September/October 2020) and 3 (November/December 2020), all providers that were open in March 2020 (that is before the COVID-19 pandemic) were eligible to take part even if they had since closed.

A summary of the key findings:

Staff leaving and reasons: Group-based providers (GBP) reported a higher average number of staff leaving their setting since the start of the pandemic compared to school-based providers SBPs and on average, GBPs reported an average staff turnover rate of 28%, compared with 11% for SBPs. Providers who had staff who left the setting since COVID-19 were asked to select the reasons why staff left their setting for employment elsewhere. For SBPs, the three most common reasons why staff left their setting for employment elsewhere were: for career progression, a better work-life balance/less stressful job, and better and more suitable working hours. For the GBPs, the three most common reasons were for better pay, better and more suitable working hours and again, a better work-life balance/less stressful job.

Vacancies: At the time of the survey, GBPs were carrying an average of one staff vacancy whereas SBPs had no vacancies. The majority of SBPs and GBPs said their current staff are equally as experienced as the staff working in their setting before COVID-19, and the majority of both SBPs and GBPs said their current staff are equally as qualified. However, around a third of GBPs said their current staff are less experienced and less qualified.

You can read the full results of Wave 4, together with the other Waves, on the official government website here.

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