SEAS has placed the following contemporary motion with the annual conference of the Scottish Labour Party. The motion is focussed on the critical report from the Auditor general towards the ambitious target set by the SNP fo really learning and care. The auditors highlighted the gap between what is needed by councils up and down Scotland and what the SNP are giving to councils to implement their ambitions.
Conference notes the Audit Scotland report of February 2018 on the SNP Government’s policy of increasing hours in early learning and childcare. Conference shares the concerns of the auditors that the SNP Government failed to plan in detail with councils or provide sufficient funding for councils in the development and implementation of the policy. Conference notes also that the SNP did not consider the cost of alternative ways of expanding early learning and care to achieve the aims of improving outcomes for children and parents.
Conference recognises the need for investment in education in early childhood to promote challenging, enjoyable and relevant early learning through purposeful play and staggered start dates for children. In addition the need for collaboration and quality staff development among staff across services in early childhood settings and primary must be based on reciprocal communication, inclusivity, mutual trust and respect. Conference sees the importance of more collaboration in this way rather than bureaucratic Regional Improvement Collaboratives. Furthermore we should be targeting resources towards communities facing challenges of poverty and deprivation.
Conference commits the Scottish Labour Party to develop a comprehensive wraparound model of education, care and health from early childhood recognising partnership working with parents and carers. Such services should be flexible, accessible, affordable and responsive to community needs with extended day and all year round provision. Scottish Labour will ensure that all children and family services support parents and carers where appropriate in identifying children’s needs and providing them with quality, timeous and appropriate support.