3rd September 2013

The Educational Institute of Scotland has given evidence on the Children and Young People Bill to Holyrood’s Education Committee.

Susan Quinn, Ex-President of the EIS, appeared before the Committee on behalf of the EIS and, while welcoming the aims of the Bill on enhancing child safety and wellbeing, also highlighted the significant resource implications it would have for Scotland’s schools.

The EIS evidence said, "The EIS believe that a duty should be placed on public bodies to work together to design, plan and deliver their policies and services jointly to ensure that they are focussed on improving children’s wellbeing. However, all duties placed on public bodies must not be constrained by the availability of limited resources.”

Highlighting a particular issue that will have significant resource implications for schools – that of a ‘named person’ who will be a consistent point of contact for children in relation to all services, the EIS evidence said:

"The EIS supports the principle of a named person. But the degree of support the named person is expected to provide remains unclear."

The EIS also argues that there should not be a "default position whereby the school is expected to provide a ‘named person’ regardless of capacity and resources. It must be recognised that the costs associated with the provision of adequate resources will be on-going and not ‘one-off’. Any costs associated with training of staff to deliver the ‘named person’ role must be met, including the provision of supply staff to cover absence."

Another key issue highlighted in the EIS evidence was that of the importance of high-quality early years education in nursery schools and classes with qualified, GTCS registered teachers.

The EIS evidence calls for:

  • Increasing the number of hours of funded early learning and childcare will not in itself result in an increase in the quality of educational provision. The EIS believes that only by guaranteeing the employment of nursery teachers can education in Scotland deliver for our young people.
  • The introduction of national, legally enforceable, standards on access by pre-5 children to a qualified GTCS registered teacher.