A letter to me from EIS Scotland on the proposal to save money by removing teachers from Edinburgh’s nurseries. I would strongly suggest Ward 8 residents who oppose this cut to take part in the consultation and write to Gordon MacDoland MSP asking him not to back cuts to Edinburgh’s budget.
The EIS has read with real concern the proposals around removing nursery teachers and headteachers from nursery classes. Whilst we appreciate the huge budgetary pressures Edinburgh Council is under due to the provisional Local Government Finance Settlement for 2019/20, we are strongly of the view that this is a short-sighted cut that is likely, over the long term, to actually cost the council more money. We refute the idea that having nursery teachers working in an individual class has no impact on the quality of the educational provision. Nursery teachers have expert level insight into the cognitive and pedagogical development of children, and how best to help children to become “school-ready”. This expertise is most effective when it can be linked to the specific needs of a child and the context in which the child is living (including developing relationships with, and knowledge of, the family/home circumstances). This is something that can only happen when a nursery teacher works closely with a class of children, and the associated early years practitioners, over extended periods of time. The idea that nursery teachers acting as “consultants” to a range of different classes in different settings would support children to anything like the same extent is clearly not credible. The result will be many children, especially the most vulnerable, being less ready and able to make the transition to school, and the long-terms financial and social costs of this are, I hope, obvious. It certainly undermines the drive to close the attainment gap, and to promote equity of educational outcomes.
Over the next days and weeks, the EIS in Edinburgh will be gathering more evidence in support of our view that this proposal should be dropped from the Change Strategy, and we will be making our case to you, and to Edinburgh residents and parents. In the meantime, though, you may want to look at this document, which summaries some research into the impact qualified teachers have on early years education https://www.eis.org.uk/Policy-And-Publications/Sustain-The-Ambition