BA in childhood practice is fast growing in popularity
More people are choosing to take a BA in childhood practice now that it is a requirement for all early-years managers, according to new figures.
There are 368 students due to graduate in 2013-14, up from 239 this year, with 1,292 expected to have graduated by 2014.
The trend comes as increasing numbers of councils are seeking to make savings by replacing nursery heads and teachers with early years staff who hold other qualifications.
Children and young people minister Aileen Campbell said the childhood practice BA degree would reduce inequalities for families across Scotland.
She cited Education Scotland's Making the Difference report, published in November, as evidence of the qualification's "clear, positive impact" on children.
The EIS union, however, is currently locked in a legal battle with Glasgow City Council over its decision to widen the eligibility criteria for heads of nursery to include those with a BA Childhood Practice award.
Anna Fowlie, chief executive of the Scottish Social Services Council, which provided the latest figures, said: "Unlike other degrees, childhood practice is concerned with developing the abilities that are required to work across disciplines and agencies and is built on a children's rights-based approach, putting children at the centre of practice."
The degree was introduced in 2008, and has been obligatory for all early-years managers, who are not teachers, since December 2011. It is now offered by 11 providers.
Some 453 people graduated in 2010-11, but numbers fell to 232 the following year, before the recent upturn.