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Workforce review into early learning and childcare announced across Scotland

Article By: Julia Corbett, News Editor

A review of Scotland’s early years workforce will be led by Professor Iram Siraj to measure the sector’s capability to deliver the Scottish Government’s planned transformation of childcare provision.

The announcement comes ahead of Scottish Parliament’s final vote on the Children and Young People Bill in August to enable the expansion of early learning and childcare provision. The sector has already benefitted from initial investment of £4m to develop and enhance its workforce.

The review will look into the qualifications of current childcare professionals, including teachers, and evaluate the recruitment and retention of staff to ensure people with the right sills are working in the sector.

Iram Siraj, currently Professor of Education at the Institute of Education, University of London, has been an academic and researcher for over 25 years and will be leading the review process.

Speaking on her appointment, she said: “I am delighted to take on the role of Chair for this Review of the Early Years Workforce. It is clear that the Scottish Government has ambitious plans and a will to improve early learning and childcare in Scotland. There are a range of challenges and complex issues relating to the workforce which must be considered. I look forward to exploring these issues, together with a range of key stakeholders, in the course of the Review.”

Minister for Children and Young People Aileen Campbell, who revealed the announcement earlier this week said: “High-quality learning and childcare benefits children, families and their communities. We can we improve outcomes and attainment for our children; and, by giving parents new opportunities to return to work, boost family incomes, and support sustainable, economic growth.

“I’m delighted that Professor Iram Siraj has agreed to lead an expert review to ensure the development of the workforce matches the scale of our ambition. By boosting skills, ensuring high quality and recognising the value of those we entrust to give our kids the best start in life, we will attract the brightest and best to deliver the transformation in childcare.”

The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) want the review to highlight the positive impact GTCS registered nursery teachers have had on the quality of early years learning in Scotland.

However the EIS has called for legislation to ensure all nursery aged children have access to a qualified teacher, claiming the Scottish Government’s commitment to ensure this is happening is currently being undermined.

Larry Flanagan, EIS general secretary, commented: “The Scottish Government has missed an opportunity with the Children and Young People's Bill to legislate on its policy of ensuring 3 and 4 year old children have access to a teacher in nursery settings.

“Some local authorities are wilfully ignoring what was a manifesto commitment from the SNP. We believe that Cabinet Secretary Mr Russell needs to intervene to ensure that quality education remains a key part of pre-5 provision and of the 3-18 Curriculum for Excellence.

“Qualified nursery teachers are at the heart of quality nursery education and it is the quality of education that the EIS believes should be at the heart of any transformation of early learning.”


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