Concern over new staffing model for Fife nurseries

Fife Council will discuss the budget at a meeting tomorrow (Thursday).
Fife Council will discuss the budget at a meeting tomorrow (Thursday).

A teaching union has raised concerns over Fife Council’s budget proposal for Early Years care.

One of the savings included in the budget proposal calls for a new model to be used for teachers who are used at nurseries and a reduction in the number of nusery teacher posts.

The peripatetic model means teachers would travel from place to place, working at nurseries for short spells of time.

Fife EIS, the largest teaching union in Scotland, called the proposal “half-baked”.

David Farmer, publicity officer, said: “This will mean that teaching staff will be between different locations in any one week. This will dilute the contact between teacher and child, this will dilute contact between teacher and parent and this will dilute contact between teacher and other Early Years staff.

“Where the focus across education and across government local and national is on raising attainment how can such a dilution work? After all there is a wealth of evidence which proves the pivotal role of the Early Years teacher in pupil attainment. Why then does it appears that no-one has even bothered to ask parents how they feel about such a change?”

Jacqueline Price, head of education at Fife Council, said: “In Fife we have invested greatly in our early years provision and workforce over many years. The peripatetic model is a proposal that has been put forward for consideration because of the positive aspects it can bring. As the peripatetic teachers work over a number of nurseries, this encourages sharing of best practice as well as helping to moderate the quality of children’s learning and experiences. As we move forward to 2020 it is clear that Fife Council will have to work with an increasing number of partners to provide all eligible children with their entitled allocation of early learning and childcare, which will increase to 1140 hours per year. The children are also entitled to support from a teacher and we need to build our capacity to offer these children equitable access to a teacher.”

Councillors will debate the proposed budget at a meeting tomorrow (Thursday).