By Spring Childcare · 09 Nov 2023

Have early years practitioners lost their mojo?

The early years sector is still experiencing a workforce crisis and oodles more staff will be required to meet the demand of the early years entitlement roll out. The recruitment and return report estimates that more than 50,000 additional staff will be needed!  While there has been a steady rise in the number of people coming into the workforce, staffing continues to impact on quality and finances. Annual turnover within Spring is around 31%, this is similar to other group providers at 36%.  Offering additional benefits like maternity pay and childcare discounts has been a great step but there are broader issues at play. Addressing the reasons behind the high turnover is crucial. Staff leaving within the first year has risen sharply to 42% from around 29% in 2021/22. Why are staff leaving? Practitioners have lost their passion for the role due to pay and increasing demands of the job, they have fallen out of love with the job.


So how do we get the early years mojo back?

Finding ways to rekindle the passion for the role could involve creating a positive and supportive work environment. Maybe organizing team-building activities, fostering a sense of community, and acknowledging the importance of the work they do could make a difference.

Considering the financial aspect, exploring sustainable ways to increase pay or offering performance-based incentives might help retain valuable staff. Investing in professional development opportunities could also contribute to job satisfaction and skill enhancement.

Finding a balance between addressing the demands of the job and ensuring the well-being of the staff is key. Open communication channels where concerns can be voiced and addressed might help in understanding and mitigating the challenges faced by the workforce.

The Government must develop a comprehensive recruitment and retention strategy providing direction and they must recognise that early years professionals are key to the plans for economic growth and the back to work agenda. A plan that invests in our workforce and enables them to flourish reigniting their passion.


What is key when I think about working in early years is you need purpose. We must hunt for their mojo… and hold on to it!


To get that early years mojo back, consider a multi-faceted approach:

  • Recognition and Appreciation: Ensure that your staff feels valued and recognized for their hard work. Implement employee recognition programs and celebrate achievements. A little acknowledgment can go a long way.
  • Professional Development: Nurture a culture of continuous learning. Provide opportunities for professional development, training, and skill enhancement. This not only keeps your staff engaged but also equips them with the tools they need to excel in their roles.
  • Competitive offer: While passion for the role is crucial, it’s also important to address financial concerns. Review your employee packages and consider whether they are competitive in the current market. If feasible, explore ways to increase pay or offer additional benefits.
  • Work-Life Balance: The demands of the job might be taking a toll on your staff. Ensure that there’s a healthy work-life balance. This might involve revisiting workload expectations, promoting flexible working arrangements, or providing support for managing stress.
  • Community and Team Building: Foster a sense of community within your organization. Encourage team building activities and create a positive, supportive work environment. A strong sense of belonging can help combat the feelings of isolation or burnout.
  • Listening and Feedback: Regularly seek feedback from your staff. Understand their concerns and actively work towards addressing them. Knowing that their opinions are valued can make a significant difference in employee satisfaction.
  • Retention Incentives: Consider crafting retention incentives tailored to your organization. These could include bonuses for long-term service, career progression opportunities, or other perks that make sticking around enticing.
  • Recruitment Strategies: If “job hopping” is a challenge, focus on attracting individuals who are genuinely passionate about early years education. Highlight the unique aspects of your organization that make it a great place to work.

Remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, so a combination of these strategies might be the key to rekindling that early years mojo.


Passion – family – thriving children – children developing and growing– rewarding – excitement – smile


Why Childcare? – YouTube


Blog by Corinna Laing Head of Early Years and Childcare who will be speaking at Westminster Education Forum on the 14th November 2023 Westminster Forum Projects | Next steps for childcare and early years education in England