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Tuesday, 01 July 2014

Qualified childcare workers give children the best start

Written by The Editorial Team

A new report has highlighted the positive impact of the new early years degree-level qualification for leaders and managers of the early years and childcare workforce in Scotland.

The report Knowledge, Confidence and Leadership: Childhood Practice in Action was published this week by the Scottish Social Service Council (SSSC).

The report shows that the increase in qualified workers and scrutiny in early years and child care services is improving the lives and outcomes for children, families, communities and the economy. Since the SSSC began registering early years professionals in 2006, the number of qualified workers has increased from 55% to 89% with the remaining 11% working towards a qualification.

Anna Fowlie, Chief Executive, SSSC (pictured) said: “We know that gaining qualifications has an impact on the professionalism of the early years and child care workforce.  Following the publication of Taking the first steps – is Childhood Practice working? we now have further evidence to show the difference the award is having. Workers who have completed the award feel they are working at the same level as other professionals involved in the care, learning and development of children.

“Qualified workers lead to quality early years services.  Scotland’s early years and child care workers deserve praise for their efforts to increase their knowledge, confidence and leadership skills but most importantly for the difference they are making to children’s lives.”

Welcoming the report, Minister for Children and Young People Aileen Campbell said:“I want Scotland to be the best place to grow up and our children and young people deserve the best possible care in their early years. This report shows that the increase in qualified childcare workers is improving the lives and outcomes of children and highlights the positive impact the degree qualification is having in the sector.

“Childcare practitioners are crucial to delivering our ambitious expansion of early learning and childcare – and I’m grateful for SSSC’s role in ensuring it remains high quality. We have announced an investment of £4 million in further developing the workforce over this year and next. This will provide more than 200 training and development opportunities for post-graduate teachers specialising in early years, and graduates in Childhood Practice.

“I am delighted that Professor Iram Siraj is also undertaking an independent Review of the Early Learning and Childcare Workforce and Out of School Care Workforce for Scottish Government, and I look forward to receiving the report and recommendations in the spring of next year.”

John Davis, Professor of Childhood Inclusion at Edinburgh University commented:“Our research supports the findings in both the GUS (Growing Up in Scotland) outcomes report and the SSSC paper that demonstrate that changes to qualifications are making a difference on the ground and that managers are experiencing a significant effect on their confidence, status and practice. Professionals in Scotland should be very proud that this research shows the impact of the substantial commitment that has been made by childhood practitioners to improving care and education services in Scotland.”

Over 30,000 people work in early years and child care and workers must gain or be working towards a qualification to register with the SSSC.

The SSSC will be introducing a new career long development framework for the whole of the social services sector in 2015.