Scottish Liberal Democrats have today stressed that it will take a “monumental effort” from the Scottish Government to deliver their commitment to double the provision of free early learning and childcare provision by 2020.
The comments come as the First Minister launches a new campaign to recruit up to 11,000 people into the childcare profession.
Scottish Liberal Democrat party convenor and children and young people’s spokesperson Sheila Thomson said:
“Scottish Liberal Democrats successfully pressed the Scottish Government to commit to a massive expansion of free childcare. It is the right thing to do but it will take a monumental effort to deliver the additional places on time for 2020.
“Expanding free early learning and childcare will close the attainment gap, give children a better start in life and give parents more opportunities to go back to work, boosting the economy.
“However, questions still surround how they will find and train the thousands of staff needed to make it available to all families. Only half of private and third sector nurseries plan to get involved in delivering this policy and parents are already reporting that it is difficult to take up their children's existing entitlement.
“The Government needs to provide more clarity on how it will achieve this expansion, ensure hard-pressed colleges are able to play their part in equipping new staff with the skills they need and guarantee ministers won't try and deliver this policy on the cheap.”
The 2016 Annual Nursery Survey indicated that only half of private and third sector nurseries plan to offer places to help the SNP Government meet its targets.