The current coronavirus crisis could threaten the future viability of the childminding sector, an academic has warned.
Dr Verity Campbell-Barr, an associate professor at the University of Plymouth’s Institute for Education, said there has been a slow decline in the number of childminders working in the UK for the last 20 years.
And she now believes that coronavirus is going to have a major impact upon on the industry.
Dr Campbell-Barr has been leading a research project for the past year, funded by the Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years (PACEY) charity.
An online survey more than 3,000 childminders completed for the study has found many feel they are viewed as babysitters rather than qualified professionals able to deliver formal early years learning.
Almost two-thirds of respondents strongly agreed that the increase in the level of paperwork contributed to people leaving childminding, with a similar number strongly agreeing that the demands of regulation and registration were an issue.
The survey also found around 30% of childminders are either planning to leave in the next year, or unsure as to whether they would remain in the sector.
It comes as the IPPR have published a separate survey, which highlights the toll the current crisis is taking on the mental health and family life of many workers in the sector.
According to the IPPR, one in five healthcare workers could quit when the pandemic is over.
‘The research confirms that childminding is being assailed on multiple fronts,’ said Dr Campbell-Barr.
‘This includes too many people leaving and too few joining; and the dissonance between the childminder’s innate sense of professionalism and the lack of recognition from the early years sector.
‘Though further research will be needed to ascertain its precise impact, the fear is that coronavirus and the lockdown will disproportionately hurt the childminding profession.’
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