Every nursery in Scotland’s most deprived areas will have an additional qualified childcare graduate to work with children by 2018, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced.
The new approach will begin now and will see 25,000 children benefit from more face to face time with graduates, helping them reach their full potential whatever their background.
The funding is designed to raise educational attainment, one of the First Minister’s key priorities after she placed education at the heart of her Programme for Government.
Previous announcements include the £100 million Attainment Fund and the establishment of a new National Improvement Framework to monitor progress.
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The intention is sound but it is questionable whether it is feasible to deliver by 2018 given that it takes about 6 years to gain the BA Childhood Practice degree qualification to which she refers. The fact that this degree enables students to move their career in other and more lucrative directions also means that many who achieve it do not continue working in the sector where pay scales remain low. It is also clear that those who attain the degree and move into a management role even within the sector spend less and less time f2f with children.
There is much to be done to ensure that raising qualifications for staff in ECEC sector has the desired impact on children's attainment and long term outcomes.