National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA) welcomes the First Minister’s announcement of trials for models of early learning and childcare, following the publication of the Scottish Poverty Adviser’s report.
The Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced £1 million to carry out a recommendation made in the Shifting the Curve report by Independent Adviser on Poverty and Inequalities Naomi Eisenstadt to test delivery models of early learning and childcare.
The trials will explore how to meet parents’ and children’s needs ahead of the planned expansion of funded childcare hours to 1140 per year by 2020.
NDNA’s Chief Executive Purnima Tanuku OBE said: “We are delighted that the First Minister and her Government consider funded childcare to be a priority in tackling poverty and inequality.
“It’s important all parts of the early learning and childcare provision landscape are involved in these trials, including private and third sector nurseries so we can explore how best to develop and deliver high-quality, flexible childcare.
“We applaud Naomi’s emphasis on the importance of investment in the quality as well as the affordability of childcare to give the best start in life to youngsters from disadvantaged backgrounds, as well as supporting their parents to work offsetting the burden of childcare costs.
“Lack of affordable childcare can lead to further poverty for those with young children and high quality early learning helps bridge the gap between the least advantaged and their peers by the time they reach school age. The evidence shows the importance of investing early, so it’s welcome that the trials will include places for two year olds.
“But the high quality aspect of this provision is critical if it is to be effective, so we need to ensure the right investment and funding structure is in place to enable early learning and childcare providers to deliver this where it is most needed.”
Purnima, who is a representative on the Early Learning and Childcare Strategic Forum which is meeting at the Scottish Parliament building today, added that NDNA would be consulting with members and discussing the trials ahead of formulating its response to the Scottish Government.
NDNA is the only early years organisation operating across Scotland, England and Wales and has offices in all three nations.
Here is the Government Paper for individual responses by March: http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2016/01/9179