Early years providers are increasingly relying on unpaid volunteers, an analysis of the childcare workforce by the Education Policy Institute has concluded. Researchers examining data on the early years workforce in England and found evidence of increased use of unpaid staff in all childcare settings. The heaviest use of volunteers was found to be in reception classes, where volunteers accounted for 15.5 per cent of the workforce. In nurseries 10.8 per cent of staff were volunteers and in non-school settings the figure was 7.8 per cent. The report warned that the use of unpaid staff could be damaging. “The increasing reliance of the sector on these staff raises questions about how they are deployed, their skills and qualifications, and their effect on the quality of provision for children,” it states. Read more.