The Scottish Government have been criticised this week after figures emerged that only three nurseries in East Lothian are currently offering 1140 hours of nursery care.
The SNP Government has committed to giving all children 1140 hours of free childcare by August 2020- a policy that is meant to help people from disadvantaged backgrounds.
However, a recent Freedom of Information request from the Scottish Conservatives has highlighted that only 9% of public nurseries are currently meeting the 1140 target and that due to staffing issues there are concerns that might not be met.
The Scottish Government also introduced stricter qualification requirements for nursery managers, meaning that they will all need to have SCQF Level 9. There are fears that many nursery managers in East Lothian will not retrain as they approach retirement.
Michelle Ballantyne, MSP for South Scotland, has expressed her concerns with the statistics. The former childcare and early years spokeswoman highlighted the profound and growing concerns regarding the lack of support and engagement for private nurseries.
She the SNP to urgently address these flaws and ensure that parents depending on this extra childcare provision are not bitterly disappointed.
Michelle Ballantyne MSP commented:
“With less than 18 months to go, it’s concerning that less than a tenth of public nurseries in East Lothian are providing the full 1140 hours of childcare.
“Due to the changes in staff qualification there are a lot of worries over staff recruitment and access to capital funding for private nurseries.
“We are hearing more and more examples of businesses either pulling out of impossible partnerships, or closing down all together.
“The SNP launched this policy to huge fanfare. They must get it right or parents will be bitterly disappointed.”