Eary years

A high profile report funded by the Educational Institute of Scotland and worked on by an Edge Hill academic has captured the headlines with its findings about early years teaching.

Dr Karen Ludke, a lecturer in English Language, has contributed to an independent study, undertaken by the Child’s Curriculum Group, called Sustaining the Ambition.

The report, which has just been published, seeks to provide an evidence base on the role of GTCS- registered teachers as part of the Early Learning and Childcare Workforce in Scotland.

It has discovered that the number of qualified teachers working in Scotland’s nurseries has fallen by over 29 per cent over the last decade, while child numbers have fallen by just four per cent in the same period.

Some three to five-year-old children don’t have access to a registered teacher at all. This is significant because the study found that qualified teachers played a key role in promoting early literacy and numeracy, identifying children with extra support needs, as well as providing mentoring and training to other nursery staff.

The skills, knowledge, values and attributes of GTCS-registered teachers provide an essential contribution – alongside other well qualified and experienced staff within nursery settings – to achieve the Scottish Government’s policy aspirations by making a difference for young children and their families.

Dr Ludke said: “The information brought together in this report shows that nursery teachers make a vital contribution to the lives of children and families, helping to sustain Scottish Government’s policy ambitions to “close the gap” for children, and support the invaluable work of their early years colleagues. The finding that there is now one teacher for every 84 eligible nursery children in Scotland suggests that it is important to define what ‘access’ to a teacher actually means.”

The report’s findings have been featured in The National, The Herald, STV, BBC, Holyrood current affairs magazine and Nurseryworld.

You can read the report’s executive summary here.