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Nursery Staff

Volume 406: debated on Tuesday 10 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) how many nursery staff are estimated to have been employed in each year since 1997; and what plans he has to increase numbers of nursery staff: [115129](2) if he will make a statement on the level of pay of nursery staff in each year since 1997; and what plans he has

(a) to increase pay levels and (b) for other financial support of nursery staff; [115130]

(3) what tasks nursery staff are expected to carry out; what plans he has to improve conditions of work; and if he will make a statement on the value of nursery staff to the (a) children and (b) community. [115131]

We do not collect annual data on the numbers of staff working in nurseries. In 2001, there were 274,528 people working in childcare in England, of whom 94,302 worked in day nurseries. This represents an increase from 226,340 childcare workers in 1998, of whom 43,080 worked in day nurseries.A national childcare recruitment campaign has been running since 2000 to encourage people to consider a career in childcare. Local authorities promote childcare locally, and offer taster courses and links to further training.Nursery staff are employed by a range of providers, including local authorities, private providers and voluntary organisations. These employers determine levels of pay and other rewards, and the tasks which their staff are expected to carry out.According to the Labour Force Survey, the mean pay for all childcare workers in spring 2001 was £5.29 per hour. We do not collect annual data on levels of pay for nursery staff.Nursery staff play a key role in giving young children a good start in life, by promoting their physical, intellectual and social development. Childcare and early education services are important community resources, helping parents work, learn and study; and promoting strong families and strong communities. Government funding for Sure Start, early years and childcare is planned to reach £1.5 billion budget by 2005–06.