UNISON welcomes increase to nursery provision but calls for proper resourcing
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The Branch has welcomed the Scottish Government's drive to increase nursery provision but has warned that its one size fits all approach could leave local authorities with a shortfall in funding.
The response to Aberdeenshire Council's consultation on changes to accommodate the additional provision, has been informed by the branch's engagement with over 300 Nursery Nurse members.
Susan Kennedy, Assistant Branch secretary said, "UNISON welcomes both affordable childcare and employment opportunities within local government which the extension of nursery provision will provide.
"However the budget allocated to local authorities causes us concern. The Scottish government’s budget to provide this extra provision has not been formulated to consider the varied cost of childcare within both local government and private sector provision across Scotland and its one size fits all approach could leave local authorities with a shortfall in funding."
Members are concerned about a range of issues including a reduction in non-contact time, used for planning, preparation, writing up assessments and liaising with parents, all crucial roles, and a lack of time for team meetings etc.
Susan said, "Team work and communication have played a major role in the success of nursery provision and a happy, motivated workforce; it will be detrimental to both the staff and pupils to lose this time.
"Our members would like to see a more flexible approach to the delivery of 600hrs.
"We would hope that the authority would look favourably into options for accommodating more non-contact time and flexibility for Nursery Nurses to allow for key areas in service delivery.
"We have heard from some of our members who would like to see their working day and contracts extended, so that is an area we should all explore for all those who are interested, especially as childcare is becoming a growth industry.
"It is vital that UNISON, its members and the authority keep the lines of communication open during the transition of the new provision from August to assess and monitor how it will be impacting our members across the different locations, so that any problems can be addressed, support given and hopefully, improvements made," she added.
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