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Another SNP education promise broken as over 100 nurseries in deprived areas without teachers

June 15, 2022 2:14 PM
Originally published by Scottish Liberal Democrats

Scottish Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Willie Rennie has today revealed the latest SNP education failure after uncovering that a nursery recruitment target set by Nicola Sturgeon to close the poverty-related attainment gap has never been met, with a quarter of posts lying empty and over 100 nurseries in the most deprived areas missing a teacher.

Nicola Sturgeon personally unveiled the target to recruit 435 additional graduates to nurseries in the most deprived areas by August 2018, stating that it was "absolutely crucial to tackling the attainment gap right from the start".

Now Scottish Liberal Democrats have established that there are just 327 FTE staff in post, meaning these nurseries are more than 100 staff short and 25% of posts are vacant.

It comes after Scottish Liberal Democrats this week exposed how the First Minister and Education Secretary are publicly at odds about whether a target for closing the attainment gap even exists anymore.

Willie Rennie commented:

"More than 100 nurseries in the most deprived communities in Scotland don't have the extra nursery teacher Nicola Sturgeon personally promised would arrive in 2018.

"Thousands of children have missed out and moved on. A chance to give them a better start in life and close the attainment gap has been squandered. Astonishingly, at the current rate of progress it's going to take another 10 years for the SNP to meet what was a 1-year target.

"This week I uncovered how the First Minister and Education Secretary are even publicly at odds about whether the key date for closing the attainment gap target has been binned.

"No wonder things aren't getting any better. With the attainment gap getting wider, not shrinking like the SNP promised, they have lost interest and switched their focus back to independence instead.

"Nicola Sturgeon promising education would be her number one priority feels like an awfully long time ago for children and parents. They are being taken for a ride. They deserve to know if this nursery staffing target will ever be met, or if it has been binned too."