Early-years Provision

Scottish Executive – in the Scottish Parliament at 2:30 pm on 24th June 1999.

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Photo of Hugh Henry Hugh Henry Labour 2:30 pm, 24th June 1999

To ask the Scottish Executive whether it will make a statement on how it intends to improve the standard of early-years provision in Scotland. (S1O-110)

Photo of Sam Galbraith Sam Galbraith Labour

We are investing £384 million in pre-school education and £91 million on child care and support for families with very young children over the next three years.

Photo of Hugh Henry Hugh Henry Labour

As well as providing resources for the training of staff in the early-years sector, will the minister consider some of the models of provision that are currently available, such as the excellent Foxlea centre in my constituency, which was inspected recently? Those centres are flexible models of provision that are open much longer than traditional nurseries and in which nursery nurses play a fundamental and responsible role. Will he encourage that type of provision?

Photo of Sam Galbraith Sam Galbraith Labour

Yes, I certainly will. Perhaps Mr Henry knows that I visited a family centre in his former local authority and was impressed by its flexibility and the range of services on offer: that is what we want. Our policy for children is based on the child, but it must also be flexible, to ensure that we meet the needs of the parents as well. Provided that we keep those two things in mind-the needs of the parent, the needs of the child, which are paramount-I am certain that we will get it right well into the future.