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Alliance works with DfE and Ofsted to reduce workload pressures

By Rachel Lawler
children holding hands
The Alliance has announced the start of a new project, aiming to reduce workload pressures for early years staff.
Working with the Department for Education (DfE) and Ofsted, the Alliance will explore the areas where pressure can be reduced as well as any misconceptions about what is required that may be creating unnecessary work for practitioners.
Sector views
The Alliance will be running a series of focus groups with the DfE and Ofsted to gather practitioners’ views.
Practitioners who would like to take part in a focus group can register their interest here.
The project is the result of a large-scale survey conducted by the Alliance last year, Minds Matter, which explored mental health and wellbeing in the early years.
The Alliance will also publish a sector-wide survey this spring, giving all practitioners a chance to share their views on current pressures.
Minds matter
Last year, the Minds Matter survey received more than 2,000 responses and discovered that:
  • 61% of respondents didn’t feel that they had a good work-life balance
  • 74% had regularly felt stressed about work, or an issue relating to work, in the previous month
  • 25% had considered leaving the early years sector due to stress and mental health concerns
Workload concerns
Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Alliance, commented: “We are incredibly pleased that both the Department for Education and Ofsted are supporting our efforts to address the early years sector’s workload concerns.
“It is crucial that any steps to help reduce unnecessary pressures on childcare practitioners are taken as a matter of priority and so we fully welcome the commitment of both organisations to work collaboratively with us to find practical, sustainable ways to tackle these issues.”
Focusing on children
Gill Jones, early education deputy director at Ofsted, added: “I want childminders and nurseries to focus on what matters: looking after young children in a safe environment in which they learn and develop well.
“We certainly don’t want anyone in an early years setting to do anything specifically for Ofsted, and which creates extra work for them. That is why we have worked hard in recent years to dispel myths about what Ofsted does and doesn’t want when we carry out inspections.”
Nadhim Zahawi, children and families minister, said: It is really important that we help cut unnecessary workload for early years staff so they can focus on supporting children’s development. That’s why we welcome this new project led by the Pre-school Learning Alliance which will look into the type of pressures the early years workforce face and how we can best support staff. We are working with Ofsted and Pre-school Learning Alliance to facilitate this project and we encourage all early years staff to participate in the project.” 
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