Currently Scotland’s childcare provision is patchy, complex and expensive. We need a radical overhaul of childcare provision to ensure that it provides what families actually want: an affordable, safe nurturing environment for their children. This will mean extending flexible working and leave for parents; and fair pay, training and career paths for those working in childcare, as well as more resources put into extra hours.
There is a consensus in Scotland for the expansion of free childcare. However the promises of expansion must be accompanied by firm commitments to deliver the resources and funding to make that happen.
Public delivery is the most cost effective way forward, as it is where we will be best able to ensure a coordinated and comprehensive service. Public delivery also makes it easier to ensure that the workforce is properly paid and well qualified.
Carol Ball, chair of UNISON’s education issues group said, “We welcome the consensus amongst the political parties in Scotland for the expansion of free childcare. However these promises must be accompanied by firm commitments to deliver the resources and funding to make this happen, and to ensure children get quality childcare.
Developing the right childcare cannot be separated from improved maternity leave and flexible working rights. The workforce need to be properly qualified and parents need time to look after their children. As well as the many fine words about the role and value of childcare there is a need to go beyond promises over numbers of hours provided and focus on quality and delivery.”
•UNISON childcare manifesto: https://unison-scotland.org/early-years-and-childcare-minifesto-supporting-children-parents-and-the-childcare-workforce
• Carol Ball, chair of UNISON education issues group, 07803 952263
• Danny Phillips, communications officer, 07944 664 110