Scottish Government
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Setting standards for nursery workers

A new Standard for Childhood Practice was launched yesterday, giving professional recognition to nursery and childcare workers.

Developed by the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC), the Standard will help build an integrated qualification and professional development framework for early years and childcare workers in Scotland.

It sets the standards required for a new award that is expected to be rolled out by universities, colleges and training providers in autumn 2008.

Minister for Children and Early Years Adam Ingram said:

"I believe the support we give to children in the early years can make an important contribution to the kind of country we want Scotland to be: one which is smarter, wealthier and fairer, healthier, safer and stronger and greener.

"We will not be able to deliver the types of services we want for our youngest children if we do not invest in the skills and career opportunities of the people delivering those services.

"The Standard for Childhood Practice will help us deliver the services we want for our children and their families. Managers qualified to meet this new Standard at SCQF level 9 will be better equipped to deliver the quality of those services.

"I am grateful to those who have been involved with the Social Services Council in developing the Standard and look forward to the benefits it will bring."

A response to proposals resulting from the National Review of The Early Years and Childcare Workforce, the new Standard sets a benchmark from which an integrated qualification and professional development framework will be developed.

It will support early years and chidcare workers to follow a skilled career path within the sector and help workers to be recognised as professionals. Longer term, all early years and child care managers will be required to gain new awards of 360 credits and SCQF level 9 for registration with the SSSC.

Chief Executive of the SSSC, Carole Wilkinson said:

"This is good news for workers, children and their parents as evidence shows that the best experiences for children come from the best qualified staff, including where the manager has a degree level award.

"Importantly this standard aims to help strengthen leadership in the sector and improve career opportunities and pathways for early years and child care professionals including those new to and, already working within, the sector."

The SSSC worked closely with key stakeholders to determine the standard. For example 78 per cent of professionals who responded to Scottish Government consultation felt that Level 9 or higher, on the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework was the correct level for managers in day care of children services.

Employers and course providers will continue to play an important role in the process to ensure the new awards of 360 credits at SCQF level 9 provide opportunities for managers, practitioners and workers.

The SSSC is responsible for raising standards in the Scottish social service workforce and was established in October 2001 under the Regulation of Care (Scotland) Act 2001. It is responsible for registering people who work in social services and regulating their education and training. Part of its role is to promote careers and enhance professionalism in the social service sector, including the early education and child care sector.

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