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Date: Tues 11 September 2012

OECD education report card shows need for investment in Scotland’s early years professional team

UNISON has called for Scotland's early years professional team to be supported, after an international report found investment per pupil in early years education is lower than the OECD average.

Commenting on the finding in a newly-published OECD report 'Education at a Glance', Carol Ball, a child development officer and chair of UNISON’s Education Issues Group said:

"We all know the earliest years of a child’s life are crucial. Scotland's early years professional team of nursery nurses and child development officers have the qualifications, skills and experience to deliver the service our children deserve. They should not be viewed as a cheap alternative - as the EIS so often claim they are - but should be fully supported to provide our children with the best start in life.

"The level of investment in Scotland's whole early years professional team should match up to international standards - so that the excellent service our nursery nurses and child development officers provide can be offered more widely." 

ENDS

Notes for editors

1. Early years staff across Scotland councils have a number of job titles including nursery nurse or child development officer. Their qualifications cover working with children from nought to eight years (unlike teachers). Many have embarked on the further qualification of a BA in childhood practice or the SVQ level four. They are more than qualified to undertake leading roles in early years’ centres and nurseries. Nursery nurses are the early years’ professionals. 

UNISON Scotland represent the vast majority of workers working with children in their early years: midwives; health visitors; community nurses; school nurses; nursery nurses, social workers and support staff in schools.

2 .For more information on UNISON’s aims for early years’ education, please download a copy of our education manifesto at http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/publicworks/educationmanifesto.pdf 

For more information please contact:
Carol Ball, Chair of UNISON Scotland’s Education Issues Group, on 07803 952 263
Malcolm Burns, Communications Officer, on 0141 342 2877 or 078765 66978
Fiona Montgomery, Communications Officer, on 0141 342 2877 or 07508 877000

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