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It comes as no surprise to me that a recent study has revealed high-quality nurseries have staff that are better trained and more qualified.

As a training provider, I don't doubt that these are crucial to ensuring the best quality Early Years provision.

Staff are the greatest asset within any business and professional, ongoing, training improves practitioner knowledge and understanding which are both vital to maintaining and improving standards.

However, the Government's continued underfunding of the childcare sector is putting increased pressure on settings to provide this vital training.

If the powers that be do not invest more heavily in the Early Years workforce then the gains identified in The Study of Early Education and Development (SEED): Study of Quality of Early Years Provision in England - that the quality of early years provision has improved in England over the past 16 years - will be lost.

As Beatrice Merrick, Chief Executive of national charity Early Education, commented on the report: "This report reinforces the importance of having well-qualified staff who have regular access to continuing professional development (CPD) - and that two-year-olds have as much need of staff with higher level qualifications as older children to ensure they receive the quality of provision that they need. 

"The Government needs to ramp up its workforce strategy to ensure that we continue to upskill the Early Years workforce, with regular CPD being available to all.

"The findings show that Early Years provision must be funded sufficiently for providers to employ well-qualified staff and to provide them with regular CPD. 

"We know that as well as cost, availability of good quality training is being affected by the cuts to local authority budgets, and is increasingly subject to a postcode lottery.

"Any future increase in funding to providers should be tied to measures of quality to ensure that it is an investment in what makes the most difference to quality, namely staff qualifications and training."

Chief executive of PACEY (Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years), Liz Bayram, echoed his concerns: "Our own research shows that providers’ investment in training and CPD is in decline as they struggle to maintain sustainable businesses."

The Study of Early Education and Development (SEED): Study of Quality of Early Years Provision in England found staff training and development, lower staff turnover, accepting a narrower range of ages at the setting, a higher average level of staff qualification and having fewer children per member of staff were associated with higher quality provision across private, voluntary and nursery school settings.

The results were gleaned by measuring the quality and setting characteristics in 1,000 group early childhood education and care settings, comprising 402 two-year-old and 598 three-to-four-year-old room visits.

Settings were a subsample of those attended by children from the SEED longitudinal study - being carried out by NatCen Social Research, working with the University of Oxford, Action for Children and Frontier Economics, on behalf of the Department for Education - following just under 6,000 two-year-olds from across England through to the end of Key Stage 1 at age seven.