“Pull out all the stops” to guarantee childcare rollout

Scottish Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Beatrice Wishart MSP has demanded the government “pull out all the stops” to ensure high quality childcare is in place by the end of the summer as promised, after Audit Scotland reported serious concerns about nursery infrastructure and staff recruitment.

The report revealed that:

  • as of September 2019 councils still needed to recruit approximately half of the additional staff required for the expansion
  • around half of the work to put the necessary infrastructure in place is planned for completion in the final few months, escalating the risk level to the highest level meaning it is both “very likely to occur” and will have a “very high impact”
  • “it is likely that some aspects of the policy, such as delivering flexibility and choice, will not be fully implemented by August 2020.”

Beatrice Wishart said:

“With six months left to go parents and teachers are right to expect the project to be in better shape. With half of the building yet to be completed this summer and half the staff needed not yet sourced, the key pillars of this scheme are being left right up to the line.

“The Scottish Liberal Democrats have been telling the government for months that it needs to pull out all the stops to guarantee families aren’t let down at the last minute. Poor planning cannot be allowed to disrupt the rollout of this important provision.

“Parents need the flexibility and choice that Nicola Sturgeon promised, but we know some are already being told to take it or leave it.

“The government has a responsibility to ensure parents and children can rely on high quality care, that fits around their needs, being in place in time for the end of the summer holidays.”

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