Nursery schools need registered teachers, according to a new report for the EIS

Written by Tom Freeman on 11 February 2016 in News

Report finds only one qualified teacher per 84 nursery pupils in Scotland

Registered teacher numbers in nursery schools must be maintained if the expansion of free childcare promised by the SNP is to tackle inequality and the attainment gap, a new report has said.

The number of GTCS-registered teachers in early learning and childcare settings has fallen by 29 per cent over the last decade, leading to a ratio of one teacher for every 84 pupils, the ‘Sustaining the Ambition’ report for teaching union the EIS warns.

Many pupils aged 3-5 in Scotland have no access to a registered teacher at all, it adds, while working teachers feel unsupported.


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“In some local authorities, the nursery teacher’s role is being reduced and in some cases, despite the Scottish Government requirement for nursery children to have ‘access’ to a GTCS registered teacher, such teachers are no longer employed,” it said.

The Government aims to increase the free entitlement of early learning and childcare to 1140 hours a year by 2020, and report authors the Child’s Curriculum Group warns the ratio could drop further still.

EIS education committee convener Susan Quinn said the Curriculum for Excellence is supposed to begin at three.

“The clear message is that early exposure to a quality educational experience in the nursery setting brings a whole host of benefits to young children.

“The findings also support the belief that employing the skills and leadership of qualified teachers remains the best way to ensure a quality educational experience in all nursery settings,” she said.

Last June children’s expert Professor Iram Siraj conducted a review of Scotland’s early years workforce, and concluded practitioners must be better qualified and have equal pay. The Scottish Government acknowledged some of the recommendations were “challenging”.

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