New training and induction programme to be introduced.
Childminders will be central to the delivery of the Scottish Government's massive expansion of childcare in both nurseries and childminders, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said today as she announced plans for a new standard of best practice for the profession.
The standard will include a new training and induction programme that all childminders will be expected to complete prior to registration.
Currently, childminders are registered and are inspected but do not have to undertake qualifications in order to register.
The training and induction programme, which will be developed with the Care Inspectorate, will support the development of skills and training for all childminders working in the early learning and childcare sector.
The First Minister said:
"Childminders do an absolutely crucial job for parents across Scotland, ensuring that their children are properly cared for while they go out and work.
"A good start in life is, quite simply, the most important gift we can give our young people. We are absolutely committed to ensuring Scotland is the best place to grow up, with every child given the best chance to succeed and with raising attainment a key priority.
"Childminders play a vital role in children's development, which helps to reduce social inequality and close the attainment gap. They will be central to our ambitions for a massive expansion of early learning and childcare in the years to come."
"However, at present, childminders are not required to undertake any training or even induction. As recently highlighted, well trained, supported and suitably qualified staff are fundamental to improving quality and have a key role in addressing our most entrenched problems of poverty, poor health and poor attainment.
"That is why, alongside the commitment to increasing the level of entitlement to free early learning and childcare to 1140 hours per year, we will also ensure that the provision which will be offered is of the highest possible quality. These new standards will help drive up quality and ensure parents can rest assured that their children are in the best possible hands.
"As we expand the hours that children are entitled to, we will also increase the flexibility of the offer. We will ensure that parents can opt to take their evailable hours of free childcare to better suit their working patterns, with childminders being central to that offer."
Karen Reid, Care Inspectorate Chief Executive, said:
"I warmly welcome this announcement. Our inspections show that childminders across Scotland provide good quality care at a really important time in children's lives . The impact that high-quality childminding can have on children's development is very significant, offering a homely, warm, nurturing environment for children to learn, explore and grow up.
"I am delighted to work with the Scottish Government and the Scottish Childminding Association. This will support childminders to be the best they can be, and help make Scotland the best place for children to grow up in."
Maggie Simpson, Chief Executive of Scottish Childminding Association (SCMA), said:
"I'm delighted to hear of another piece being added to the jigsaw. Today's announcement of the development of a quality standard for childminders will bring childminding in line with the opportunities that are already enjoyed by the rest of the early years workforce.
"There is already a robust registration and inspection process carried out by the Care Inspectorate with childminding services amongst the highest graded Early Learning and Childcare providers.
"SCMA and our childminder members also wanted to see more direct access to qualifications and I look forward to working with the Care Inspectorate, Scottish Government, the Scottish Social Services Council and on the development of this quality standard for childminders."
The aims of the Standard are to:
- Be accessible
- Take account of existing national policy and frameworks e.g. GIRFEC, Building the ambition, National Care Standards
- Use a variety of mediums of delivery
- Be modular based
- Focus on good outcomes for children
- Links to career pathways for Early Years workers in care sector
Further details of the Standard will be announced in due course.
The Scottish Government has committed £329 million to expand funded early learning and childcare for all three and four year olds and the 27 per cent most disadvantaged 2-year-olds (around 20,000) to 600 hours from August 2014 over two years.
We have expanded funded hours by 45 per cent since 2007 – an increase worth up to £707 per child per year. We have set out our plans to go further by increasing provision from 16 hours a week to 30 hours a week by the end of the next parliament.
More information about eligibility criteria and local provision is available on the Scottish Families website: www.scottishfamilies.gov.uk
Professor Siraj's review of the early years workforce was published in June: http://news.scotland.gov.uk/News/-1-million-to-develop-early-years-workforce-1963.aspx
The Scottish Government will publish its full response to the workforce review by the end of November.