A £1,000 tax-free cash incentive is being offered to new childcare workers across England, but one Swindon preschool worker says that it’s not enough to tackle issues in the industry.

The cash offer is part of a nationwide campaign by the UK government to recruit more staff to work in the childcare sector.

This comes after the expansion of funded hours means that thousands of extra nursery workers and childminders are needed.

By September 2025, all eligible preschool children of working parents will be able to access 30 hours of childcare during term time, from as young as nine months old.

This rise in demand will mean that around 27,500 more early years professionals will be needed, an eight per cent expansion of the current workforce, think tank Nesta estimates.

For Swindon Pre-school worker Rachel Cleary, who sees the reality of the childcare industry every day, the government’s cash incentive is just not enough.

“Despite retraining in Early Years to degree level, I find myself dreading going to work and experiencing sleepless nights due to the financial challenges faced by our preschool,” the Little Pippin’s Pre-school administrator revealed.

“With rising bills, increasing minimum wage, and minimal funding from the government, it has become increasingly difficult to sustain the quality of education we strive to provide.

“The upcoming changes in government early years funding will only exacerbate the situation.”

According to the Department for Education, more than 100,000 working parents of two-year-olds have already registered for the April rollout.

For Rachel, who has dedicated over 13 years to the childcare industry, this only causes more worry about the future of early years education.

“Many early years settings are being pushed to their limits, and a £1000 incentive to get new early years workers is not the answer,” she told the Adver.

Swindon Advertiser: Pre-school administrator Rachel Cleary believes that more needs to be done to tackle financial issues within the industry.Pre-school administrator Rachel Cleary believes that more needs to be done to tackle financial issues within the industry. (Image: Rachel Cleary)

“While more families will be entitled to claim funding, it does not cover the full cost of childcare. The rates set by Swindon Borough Council will result in many providers losing money rather than receiving an increase.

“In the past five years, our preschool has had to dip into our own funds to cover the costs of minimum wage increases and wages for additional staff required to support children with special educational needs.

“The outstanding education of our youngest children is at stake, and without adequate support and funding, the quality of early years education will suffer.”

Despite the concerns of Rachel and many other childcare professionals like her, Children’s Minister David Johnston told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that the government has a “very clear plan” and he is “confident” in the scheme which “will work” if more staff can be employed.