This briefing sets out
UNISON Scotlandís position on the Early Years Framework
to be debated on 5th February 2009. UNISON
Scotland is uniquely placed to comment on how to develop
policies in this area. We represent the vast majority of
workers working with children in their early years: midwives;
health visitors; community nurses; school nurses; nursery
nurses; social workers; nursery nurses. UNISON also represents
the vast majority of support staff in schools.
UNISON Scotland agrees
that the earliest years of life are crucial to a childís
development and that universal public services are the key
to supporting childrenís development and supporting those
children most at risk of not achieving their true potential.
It is the delivery of the framework, the funding available
and the development of the skills of staff and their terms
and conditions that will be the key to achieving these laudable
aims. We would like clarity on the following:
- The detail of the delivery mechanisms
and how the changes in service delivery and workforce
development will be implemented are not clear. This makes
it difficult to evaluate the framework.
- UNISON believes that the framework
must be implemented in partnership with trade unions.
It is nursery nurses,
not teachers, who deliver the three-to-five curriculum.
They are the early yearís professionals. UNISON is concerned
that the framework focuses on improving the training of
teachers rather than nursery nurses.
UNISON believes that a
key way to improve the chances of Scotlandís children is
to raise the status of work in this area in order to recruit
and retain a skilled workforce. The following will help
to achieve this aim:
the qualifications, career prospects and rewards of early
years and childcare workers. In particular recognition
that nursery nurses are the key early years professionals
progress on the further steps needed to recognise and
integrate the work of school support staff into the life
of education establishments; the qualifications, career
pathways and personal development of these staff; this
of course has implications for the pay and conditions
of these staff.
Addressing past discrimination
on equal pay and ensuring local authorities make provision
to meet their equal pay obligations.
UNISON supports the commitment
to improving the lives of Scotlandís children stated in
the framework. It is the delivery of the framework, the
funding available and the development of the skills of staff
and their terms and conditions that will be the key to achieving
this improvement. The framework so far does not contain
enough detail in order to evaluate whether it will achieve
the governments aims.
For further information
Dave Watson, Scottish
Tel. 07958 122409