Childbase Partnership takes a lead on National Living Wage increase
A rise in the National Living Wage at the award-winning Childbase Partnership to £7.61 an hour had day nursery practitioners of all ages celebrating on Wednesday as the Government announced the new rate of £7.50 for next year.
Pay rises at the beginning of November gave the company’s lowest earners a 5.70% increase to their hourly rates, irrespective of age, while the National Living Wage – currently £7.20 an hour – will only be increased for the 25 years and over age group and not until April, according to the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement.
Even Early Years Apprentices, who are paid to learn in the company’s 44 day nurseries throughout the South of England, are better off, earning £5.55 an hour instead of the government recommended rate of £3.40.
Virginia Mead-Herbert, Deputy CEO of Childbase Partnership, which has just been named a National Champion in the European Business Awards and the UK’s Employee-owned Business of the Year, said:
“This is but a step in a decade-long company drive to achieve professional recognition, pay and benefits for our early years practitioners who are not only carers but educators of the very young.
“We introduced the National Living Wage five months early last year and are maintaining momentum with the latest increases and a move to 100 per cent employee ownership and tax-free bonuses for all next year.”
She said the pay deal, which focuses on the company’s lower wage earners, was going ahead despite the climate of uncertainty surrounding inadequate Government funding for its ‘free’ childcare plans, because it is the right thing to do.
“We are committed to providing ‘excellence as standard’ for all our children and continuing to drive up standards still further. That means establishing a base pay rate for all lower wage earners while maintaining existing profit-sharing, wellbeing and training initiatives.”
“This is an investment in the future, recognizing that supported and highly trained practitioners are critical to the process of preparing happy, confident children ready to realize their full potential in mainstream schooling and beyond. When that is the mission, there can be no compromise on quality, and we don’t,” she said.
The pay deal initiative is particularly good news for the 417 Childbase Partnership practitioners under 25 years of age, and 67 Early Years Apprentices who are not only paid to learn in nurseries – most of which are Ofsted-rated ‘Outstanding’ - but receive fully-funded external training and six–in house training sessions annually.
Chloe Courtley-Green (20) joined the Ofsted-rated ‘Outstanding’ Field House Day Nursery in Buckingham as an unqualified practitioner and is currently finishing her Early Learning and Childcare Level 3 qualification.
“It is brilliant that our company does more than it has to for apprentices and unqualified practitioners. It recognises the fact that we have an important role to play in nursery and that encourages us to be even better at what we do, which is great for the children in our care. I have a career at Childbase Partnership not a job,” she said.
Her Manager, Kelly Seaton, also praised the contributions made by Apprentices company-wide who were bringing a fresh perspective to delivering the best possible opportunities for every child in nurseries.
“Having a passion to work with children is something money can’t buy. There are higher paid jobs out there but loving the work you do and being recognised for it makes it more satisfying and rewarding. This pay deal shows that we are committed to each other and the profession. You can’t put a value on that,” she said.
Louise Hall (23), an unqualified practitioner at the Ofsted-rated ‘Outstanding’ Nene Valley Day Nursery in Northampton, has been with the company for nine months and is the mother of two young children.
“I am delighted that we, as a company, are doing this for the under 25s because there are a lot of us with children who are studying for qualifications and can’t do overtime to boost our earnings,” she said.
“The fact that staff are well looked after and rewarded is the reason I chose Childbase. It enables me to succeed in my training and provide for my family. Salary increases in November are also great because it helps us all in the lead up to Christmas,” she added.