Nursery schools without teachers

3rd February 2006 at 00:00
There is little doubt that Glasgow faces many problems in the 21st century, including sectarianism, low educational achievement, drugs, alcohol, poor health and diet and other indicators of relatively extreme poverty. Is it not ironic that, against this background, Glasgow City Council is proposing to remove all classroom nursery teachers from nursery schools?

It is also doubly ironic that, in England, nursery schools and playgroups are being offered subsidies to employ teachers in early years in recognition of the professional development and training which offers the insight and practice into improving learning.

The proposed move is also in direct contradiction to Scottish Executive recognition of the key role played by fully-qualified teachers in promoting learning in our schools.

Although education cannot alone address poverty, quality intervention in early years is almost universally acclaimed as crucial in mitigating the more extreme impact for many.

The policy rhetoric at local and national level is strong with regard to excellence, inclusion and the aspiration to provide ambitious, excellent schools from the age of three through to 18. So why is the city council proposing to take 37 nursery teachers out of schools? There is no reason other than crude, cynical cost-cutting in an area of non-statutory provision which the council hopes to get away with.

It is important to acknowledge the key contribution played by qualified nursery nurses and other professionals alongside teachers in delivering an all-round quality nursery education in every classroom, of which Glasgow should be proud.

But schools without teachers will seriously undermine the quality of that provision and expose the policy ambitions as nothing more than hot air.

Hugh Donnelly

Duncan Avenue, Glasgow

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