Subscribe to Holyrood updates

Newsletter sign-up


Follow us

Scotland’s fortnightly political & current affairs magazine


Subscribe to Holyrood
by Andrew Learmonth
03 August 2021
Political leaders send solidarity to Humza Yousaf after nursery bias shock

Political leaders send solidarity to Humza Yousaf after nursery bias shock

There’s been widespread outrage after health secretary Humza Yousaf’s daughter was seemingly discriminated against by a local nursery. 

The minister has contacted the national care watchdog and is taking legal advice. 

On Monday he revealed that his wife had applied for a place at the Little Scholars Nursery, Broughty Ferry, Dundee, for two-year-old Amal, but was told there was no room. 

However, a white friend of the family then applied and was told she could have three afternoons a week for her two-year-old son.

The Daily Record then made inquiries using fake names. 

A request made under the name Aqsa Akhar for three-year-old Amira was rejected. But an application made by a Susan Blake for three-year-old Sophie, was successful.

“We are fooling ourselves if we believe discrimination doesn’t exist in Scotland. I believe evidence we have proves our case beyond doubt,” Yousaf said. “As well as reporting the nursery to the Care Inspectorate we are also seeking legal advice.”

Douglas Ross, the Scottish Conservative leader, said: “This is an awful situation and no family or child should suffer discrimination because of their name or background. This should be investigated and stamped out.”

Anas Sarwar, the Scottish Labour leader, said: “Solidarity with Humza and Nadia. Profiling based on names happens every day. In this case an application for nursery. In others for a job.”

Lib Dem leader Alex Cole-Hamilton said: “This is depressing on many levels. This demands investigation.”

A spokesman for the nursery owners, who are of Asian heritage, insisted they were “extremely proud of being open and inclusive to all” and that “any claim to the contrary is demonstrably false and an accusation that we would refute in the strongest possible terms”.

They added: “Across more than a decade we have regularly welcomed both children and staff from a range of different religious, cultural, ethnic and racial backgrounds.

“We have also regularly made arrangements to accommodate different lifestyles by, for example, providing a halal menu for those children who come from Muslim families.”

Yousaf said that contacting the watchdog with their concerns was “not a step my wife and I have taken lightly”.

He tweeted: “It doesn’t matter what my position or how senior in government I may be, some will always see me, my wife and children by our ethnicity or religion first. With no explanation from Little Scholars, we will pursue the truth and get answers we deserve.”

Holyrood Newsletters

Holyrood provides comprehensive coverage of Scottish politics, offering award-winning reporting and analysis: Subscribe

Read the most recent article written by Andrew Learmonth - Miners' Pardon: 'I knew I had done nothing wrong'

Stay in the know with our fortnightly magazine

Stay in the know with our fortnightly magazine


Popular reads
Back to top