Scottish Government publishes ELC expansion progress report
The Scottish Government claims that a third of all three and four-year-olds and eligible two-year-olds are already accessing additional hours of childcare over and above the current 600.
It also reveals in today’s Early Learning and Childcare Expansion Delivery Progress Report that:
- The public sector has recruited more staff members - 5.7% higher than predicted – while NDNA Scotland’s workforce survey showed the picture in private and voluntary settings was of a recruitment and retention crisis
- The private sector will make a larger contribution than previously forecast, up 4% to 26%
- 214 nurseries have been built, extended or refurbished since March 2018
- The number of three to five-year-olds receiving more than 600 hours is 6.6% ahead of forecast
- Local authorities now expect private providers to be delivering more of the expanded hours by the time the policy is fully rolled out – up by 20% from 22% to 26% of the total uptake
However, NDNA Scotland is concerned that the report relies heavily on data from the public sector and ignores pressing issues that are facing private and voluntary nurseries.
Purnima Tanuku OBE, Chief Executive of NDNA Scotland said: “These latest figures from the Scottish Government clearly show that private and voluntary providers are key to the expansion’s success. There is evidence that parents want the flexibility to blend the early learning and childcare approach that works for them, so all sectors need to be fully supported to deliver this policy.
“The fact that the report still relies heavily on data from local authority settings means that a vital part of the picture is missing. The data in the update shows that the public sector has taken on almost 6% more staff than was expected at this point in time. Meanwhile private settings are facing a recruitment crisis. According to our recent workforce survey 71% of nurseries face difficulties recruiting qualified staff and 62% faced significant challenges retaining them.
“NDNA Scotland has worked hard with the Scottish Government and COSLA to improve partnership arrangements for delivering this policy. As a result, we are seeing recognition from councils that private and voluntary providers will have a bigger part to play come August 2020, with a 20% increase in the predicted uptake through partner providers. Providers across Scotland have welcomed the Scottish Government’s ambitious vision to give all children the best start in life but they must keep true to the principles of provider neutrality and parental choice. Working parents need flexibility which the private and voluntary sector has always provided.”
Download the full report here.