Urgent action needed to tackle early years care problems

Scottish Liberal Democrats have urged Scottish ministers to hold a mirror up to their own efforts to tackle child poverty following damning criticism of its approach to and provision of early years care in the second ‘State of the Nation’ report into social mobility and child poverty today.

The report commissioned by the UK Government and produced by a group chaired by former Labour minister Alan Milburn said that a lack of data on outcomes risks hampering progress on early years in Scotland and that there remains “too little emphasis on education in early years provision. 

The report also warned of a lack of emphasis on closing attainment gaps between rich and poor students in Scotland compared to the United Kingdom.

Scottish Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Liam McArthur MSP said:

“Scottish ministers must hold a mirror up to their own efforts to tackle child poverty. The damning criticism in this independent report highlights how Scotland’s young people are being let down by the SNP’s inaction.

“Whilst we were delighted that the SNP government worked with us to improve childcare provision for two year olds last year this report shows that it remains some way off of what is already being delivered in England. This is made all the more important considering the huge task at hand if we are to close attainment gaps between rich and poor students in Scotland.

“Without strong foundations it is impossible to build a robust response to these problems and so it is frustrating that a lack of crucial data continues to hinder efforts to give our children the best start in life. People are tired of the SNP pointing the blame elsewhere when it is their responsibility to improve Scotland’s education system.

“We deserve a detailed response to this report which addresses the many recommendations on the need to raise educational outcomes for our pupils from the most disadvantaged backgrounds.”

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