The recruitment drive for thousands of new childcare staff is undermined by the Scottish Government’s denigration of the profession, a regulator chief has warned.
The SNP administration announced more than 2,000 new training places this week to meet its flagship pledge to nearly double free childcare hours.
Anna Fowlie, the departing chief of the Dundee-based regulator Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC), reacted angrily to the Empowering Schools consultation, which she said dismissed the childcare workforce as “non-teachers” and criticised staff for not embracing professionalism.
Ms Fowlie, a former Scottish Government employee, said the early years workforce had “worked its socks off”.
“To refer to them as non-teachers and then to say ‘only teachers had invested in their own professional learning’ is not right and it’s not fair on people who have clearly galvanised themselves into being professional,” she said.
The public spending watchdog Audit Scotland published a report in February saying it was hard to see how recruiting an extra 12,000 staff and other challenges could be overcome in time.
A Scottish Government spokesman said it was committed to “investing in the workforce’s professional identity and development” and praised the SSSC for raising qualification levels and skills in the sector.
He added: “We are making progress in meeting the staffing demands of our childcare commitment and are working with the Scottish Funding Council to offer more childcare training places in the coming year.”