ELC Statistics Publication: SCMA Comment

ELC Statistics Publication: SCMA Comment
Latest data reaffirms worsening trends and need for affirmative action on childminding. 

Commenting on the Early Learning and Childcare Statistics published by the Care Inspectorate, Graeme McAlister, Chief Executive of the Scottish Childminding Association, (SCMA), said: 

“SCMA is acutely aware that the childminding workforce has been steadily declining. The size of our workforce has reduced by 22% over the last five years and within the last two years alone a 37% reduction in new childminders entering the workforce has also been experienced.

"These downward trends have happened in parallel to local authority nursery expansion to support the implementation of national ELC policy and the entitlement for parents to receive 1140 funded hours of childcare. At a time when we should be increasing childcare options for receipt of this funded entitlement, including with local childminders, the reduction in our workforce has the effect of reducing parental choice and families’ access to local, high quality, flexible childcare.  

“This new data only reports up until the end of 2019 and does not take into account the period of the pandemic which has worsened these trends further. We know the situation is critical. This is why we have worked to secure and influence the recent Scottish Government Action Plan on Childminding including the additional £1million in financial support to help those childminding settings affected the most by COVID-19 to remain sustainable.

"We welcome this funding and many of the commitments within the Action Plan and believe this will help to strengthen the childminding workforce in time. However, the publication of this latest data reaffirms that we need to go further and that as we progress through recovery there will also be a need for a nationally funded recruitment campaign to bring more people into childminding to maintain and increase this unique form of childcare for families.

“Many childminders remained open during the pandemic to provide critical childcare; as such, this has had the positive effect of introducing more families to this flexible, high-quality childcare which can be tailored to meet the needs of individual children. As such, as we move through recovery we expect demand to increase and we need to ensure there is the workforce to deliver it.

“Childminding is an extremely high-quality form of childcare which benefits from a unique and dedicated workforce - 92% achieve ‘good’ or above across all quality ratings at inspection by the Care Inspectorate - their positive contribution to the outcomes for children and families across the country cannot be underestimated.

"As the only national organisation in Scotland dedicated to supporting all aspects of childminding, SCMA remains committed to working with others, including Scottish Government and local authorities, to maintain and increase the workforce. We are also proactively working to raise the profile of childminding and its unique benefits – to ensure that more parents and carers are aware they have the option of accessing this form of high-quality childcare for their family.”

Read the latest ELC Statistics here