Scottish Government launches Quality Action Plan for early learning and childcare

31 October 2017

Supporting private and third sector nurseries to pay the Living Wage and investing in continuous professional learning are two of the raft of measures promised by Mark McDonald, Scottish Government's Minister for Childcare and Early Years today.

NDNA Scotland was among the stakeholders involved in the Quality Reference Group which the Scottish Government closely consulted in developing its Quality Action Plan for delivering its Blueprint for 2020: Expansion of Early Learning and Childcare in Scotland.

The document sets out its actions to ensure quality of provision for 1140 hours of funded childcare for all three and four-year-olds in Scotland.

Purnima Tanuku OBE, NDNA Scotland’s Chief Executive, said: “It really shows that the Scottish Government has listened to and worked with the sector, including NDNA Scotland, in its proposal to improve quality in early years. 

“This action plan recognises the link between high-quality early learning and giving all children the best start in life which is extremely encouraging.

“Investing in the early years workforce is the best way to do this, with enhanced training opportunities, relevant qualifications and continuous professional learning.

“As well as expanding its workforce to get ready for delivering 1140 funded hours for all three and four-year-olds in Scotland, this plan sets out how to reward practitioners with the Living Wage, with additional funding to support private and third sector nurseries achieve this. Currently many well-qualified practitioners leave the sector for better-paid public sector jobs. It’s crucial that parents needing more flexibility have the choice to send their children to private and third sector nurseries.

“Principally, this proposal which echoes NDNA’s own Quality Vision, puts children at the heart of policy in Scotland.”

Read the full Quality Action Plan here.

Minister for Childcare and Early Years Mark McDonald (pictured left) said: “Improving education and closing the attainment gap is the number one priority for this government. That is why we are almost doubling the amount of funded childcare from 600 to 1,140 hours and we have committed to double investment in the sector from £420 million to £840 million.

“We know that this alone isn’t enough. If ELC expansion is to support our ambition of making Scotland the best place in the world to grow up and close the poverty-related attainment gap, we need to guarantee that the funded entitlement is of the highest possible quality.

“We are already increasing access to our most qualified staff through our commitment to ensure that nurseries in Scotland’s 20% most deprived areas benefit from an additional graduate by August 2018. However, we know we can do more to further strengthen quality across the ELC sector. The plan published today contains a range of actions to help achieve this.”