Scottish Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Tavish Scott MSP has today revealed that only half of the SNP’s promised expansion of nursery teachers for deprived areas were in place at the start of the school year in August.
The Scottish Government committed to “provide an additional graduate in nurseries in Scotland’s most deprived areas by August 2018”, amounting to 435 graduate posts. The Scottish Government confirmed as recently as May that they would deliver this for the start of the school year.
However, information uncovered by Scottish Liberal Democrats under freedom of information legislation found:
• Just 234 of the 435 staff (54%) were confirmed as being in place at the start of the new term as planned
• Only 7 of Scotland’s 32 local authorities had the full number of new staff in place
• 6 councils recruited none of their additional staff on time
• Some councils reported that they have recruited staff since August or are in the process of doing so.
Commenting on the figures Mr Scott said:
“These figures show that the SNP had not delivered extra nursery staff across Scotland’s deprived areas by August.
“It is all very well promising parents and children extra high-quality nursery care. But time and time again the Scottish Government fails to recruit the people in time.
“We all want children across Scotland to benefit from the long-term educational benefits of excellent early year’s care. It is proven to be one of the best ways to improve attainment and address disadvantages. That is why Scottish Liberal Democrats have pushed the government so hard to expand nursery provision.
“But these new staffing figures don’t bode well for the 2020 expansion of childcare which requires 11,000 extra staff.