8th November 2012

EIS has called on the Scottish Government to introduce national, legally enforceable standards on access by pre-five children to a qualified GTCS registered teacher.  

This call was made following the publication of a report by the Executive Agency, Education Scotland, "Making the difference - the impact of staff qualifications on children’s learning in early years.” 

Speaking today in Edinburgh, EIS General Secretary, Larry Flanagan, said: "The EIS welcomes the acknowledgement in this report that the highest quality of pre-5 provision was found where qualified teachers worked alongside other well-qualified early years staff.

"We welcome the growing professionalism of the pre-five sector workforce but believes that the role of the teacher as a key player in pre-five partnership teams needs to be safeguarded.”

Mr Flanagan was critical of aspects of current practice which were highlighted in the report.  He said: "This report highlights that there is wide variation in practice regarding access to a teacher and concludes that occasional or ad-hoc support from a teacher is unlikely to make a difference. This is unacceptable in a country the size of Scotland.

"The understanding of the child as an active learner is reflected in the principles of Curriculum for Excellence which is a 3-18 programme.  It is, therefore, all the more important that there are fully qualified and registered teachers planning and delivering educational opportunities in the pre-5 sector.”

He concluded:  "There has been a dilution of early years education delivered by teachers in Scotland over the last 10 years. The current deployment of peripatetic teachers has resulted in many children attending nursery classes in Scotland no longer having direct access to a qualified teacher.

"Parents have a right to know how many hours of education each week are to be provided by qualified GTCS registered teachers.

"That is why the EIS, in its submission on the Children’s Bill consultation, has urged the Scottish Government to bring forward legislation to end the current postcode lottery and ensure that ‘access to a teacher’ is given meaningful regulatory impact.”

"It is worth noting that the recently published Nutbrown Review into pre 5 services in England, concluded that the role of the teacher in delivering high quality educational experiences in pre-5 sector was paramount.”



1. Education Scotland is a key national body supporting quality and improvement in Scottish education and the delivery of better outcomes for all learners in Scotland. Established in 2011, it brought together the resources and the functions of Learning and Teaching Scotland, HM Inspectorate of Education, the National Continuing Professional Development Team and the Scottish Government's Positive Behaviour Team.

2. It is accountable to Scottish Government ministers for the standards of its work but has the status of an Executive Agency to safeguard its independence of inspection, review and reporting.

3. The EIS continues a legal challenge to a decision by Glasgow City Council to employ non-teaching staff to lead its nursery establishments.  The EIS believes that all nursery education should be led by appropriately qualified, GTCS registered teachers.