Workforce review to support early learning and childcare across Scotland

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Leading children’s expert Professor Iram Siraj will lead a review of the country’s early years workforce as part of plans to transform early learning and childcare across Scotland.

Building on the Scottish Government’s investment of £4 million in development and expansion of the early years workforce, Minister for Children and Young People Aileen Campbell said this workforce review will ensure the sector is well-placed to deliver the Scottish Government’s expansion of childcare provision, while supporting ambitions for continuous professional development. Ms Campbell announced the move just ahead of Parliament’s final vote on the Children and Young People Bill, which will enable expanded early learning and childcare provision from this August.

Ms Campbell said:

“High-quality learning and childcare benefits children, families and their communities. We can we improve outcomes and attainment for our children; and, by giving parents new opportunities to return to work, boost family incomes, and support sustainable, economic growth. That’s why, from August, parents of three and four-year-olds, and an increasing number of vulnerable two-year-olds, will be entitled to 600 hours funded and more flexible early learning and childcare.

“The Scottish Government has also set out our longer-term ambition to transform childcare provision and ensure every child from one to school age is entitled to 1,140 hours each year, if Scotland gains full control of our finances following a vote for independence in September. This can help boost economic activity and support around 35,000 additional early years jobs – almost double the current workforce.

“I’m delighted that Professor Iram Siraj has agreed to lead an expert review to ensure the development of the workforce matches the scale of our ambition. By boosting skills, ensuring high quality and recognising the value of those we entrust to give our kids the best start in life, we will attract the brightest and best to deliver the transformation in childcare. And by pursuing a shared vision we can secure the foundations for Scotland’s future as the best place to grow up.”

The Review of the Early Years Workforce will consider:

• Skills and qualifications of the early learning and childcare workforce, including teachers, childcare professionals and all other levels of the workforce
• Recruitment and retention in the workforce, to ensure the right people are attracted to working in the sector
• Career Pathways, to ensure that staff are encouraged to progress their careers within that sector
• Recognition of the importance of the Early Years Workforce and the value invested in it.

Professor Iram Siraj added:

“I am delighted to take on the role of Chair for this Review of the Early Years Workforce. It is clear that the Scottish Government has ambitious plans and a will to improve early learning and childcare in Scotland. There are a range of challenges and complex issues relating to the workforce which must be considered. I look forward to exploring these issues, together with a range of key stakeholders, in the course of the Review.”

The workforce review will examine a range of issues including skills and qualifications, career progression, recruitment and retention, and workforce planning – to ensure that all those working in early years settings have the right skills and experience to deliver high-quality early learning and childcare across the country.