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Commitment for extra nursery staff missed, Lib Dems say

The Scottish Government had pledged to have 435 extra graduate staff in place by August 2018.

The Scottish Government missed a commitment for extra nursery staff (John Stillwell/PA)
The Scottish Government missed a commitment for extra nursery staff (John Stillwell/PA)

The Scottish Government missed a commitment for extra staff for nurseries in deprived areas, the Liberal Democrats have said.

The Government committed to providing an additional graduate to work in Scotland’s most deprived nurseries by August 2018.

Freedom of Information requests by Scottish Liberal Democrats show just over half of the 435 extra staff planned were in place by the target date.

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 Tavish Scott MSP

A total of 234 (54%) of staff were in place by August 2018, according to the responses received.

Just seven of Scotland’s local authorities responded that they had the previously expected number of staff in place by that date.

A total of six council areas recruited none of their additional staff on time but many have since filled posts and the Scottish Government said three-quarters of the positions have now been filled.

Lib Dem education spokesman Tavish 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.”

He said his party wants children to benefit from excellent early years care, which is proven to boost attainment, but added: “These new staffing figures don’t bode well for the 2020 expansion of childcare which requires 11,000 extra staff.”

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Children and Young People Minister Maree Todd (Andrew Cowan/Scottish Parliament/PA)

Minister for Children and Young People Maree Todd said: “We are funding additional graduate-level practitioners for nurseries in the most deprived areas and local authorities report that 75% of FTE additional graduate posts have now been recruited.

“We are dedicated to achieving the additional graduate commitment and will meet with local authorities in January to discuss recruitment.

“We have committed almost £500 million in next year’s budget to facilitate this transformation programme and help every child to reach their potential.”

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