The review will look at the skills and qualifications of the early years workforce, as well as the recruitment and retention of staff and career pathways.
It is being led by leading early education expert Professor Siraj of the Institute of Education at the University of London, a member of the research team that carried out the Effective Provision of Pre-School and Primary Education 3-11 (EPPE) longitudinal study.
The aim of the review is to ensure the sector is well placed to deliver the Scottish government’s expansion of free childcare provision, a reform included in the Children and Young People Bill, which was passed by MSPs in Scottish Parliament on 19 February.
From August, three- and four-year-olds, as well as vulnerable two-year-olds, will receive 600 hours of free childcare a year. They currently receive 475 hours a year.
Other reforms in the Scottish Children and Young People Bill include:
- free school meals for every child in the first three years of primary school from next January;
- improved provision of advice and help when needed for children and families from early years to adulthood. This would include providing a named person for each child, usually their health visitor or head/senior teacher, who would be available as a single point of contact;
- new duties placed on ministers and the public sector to promote children’s rights, as well as increased powers given to Scotland’s Children’s Commissioner;
- if Scotland becomes independent ministers will increase free childcare provision to 1,140 hours a year for all children from aged one to five.
On the review, Scotland’s minister for children and young people Aileen Campbell said, ‘I’m delighted that Professor Iram Siraj has agreed to lead an expert review to ensure the development of the workforce matches the scale of our ambition. By boosting skills, ensuring high quality and recognising the value of those we entrust to give our children the best start in life, we will attract the brightest and best to deliver the transformation in childcare.’