Nurseries in deprived areas of Dundee are set to benefit from an additional 21 teachers and graduates through funding from the Scottish Government.
The extra teachers or graduates — among 435 more nursery teaching places being created across Scotland — are part of a £1.5 million nationwide effort to tackle the attainment gap between schools in affluent and deprived areas.
David Baxter, Dundee representative of teaching union the EIS, said the extra staff were “essential” in closing the attainment gap.
He said: “One of the things we have been campaigning for is the need for nursery teachers and the importance of early years education.
“We welcome any extra funding to bring high quality teachers into the system. To be fair to Dundee, there are more nursery teachers in the system than elsewhere, but bringing in more will have clear benefits.
“There is a definite gap in attainment and there is inequality in the system.
“The mantra is that it doesn’t matter where you come from but your socioeconomic background does determine how you do in school.
“Early years development is highly important and having high quality teachers is essential to close that gap.”
Dundee City Council’s education convener Stewart Hunter said: “The new graduates or teachers who will be joining our workforce in Dundee will help improve childcare provision in our communities.”
While he welcomed the news, Councillor Kevin Keenan, leader of the opposition Labour group, said he had reservations about where the funding had come from.
He said: “The council is facing a £12.5 million cut next year on top of £23 million in cuts last year and there is still a shortage of teachers across Scotland.
“Whilst I welcome the extra staff, I wonder where they’re conjuring the money up from.”
Dundee City West MSP Joe FitzPatrick said the funding would ensure that every child across Dundee gets an equal start in life.
He said: “This new funding is very welcome news for Dundee, helping to ensure that more children in our most deprived communities are able to benefit from specialised childcare and high quality early years learning.”