Stricken SPPA forced to axe staff

9th April 1999 at 01:00
THE Scottish Pre-school Play Association will be forced to virtually halve its staffing after failing to persuade councils to fund places for three and four-year-olds. Redundancy notices have been issued to 32 part-time workers.

Martha Simpson, the association's chief executive, who has raised the issue with the Prime Minister, said 30 years' experience was at risk, despite Government assurances about partnership. "The richness of this tapestry is in danger of being lost and once so will not be re-created. We must not allow choices that are available to parents to be diminished," Mrs Simpson said.

She has written to Tony Blair reminding him of his commitment to look into the working of partnerships. He has not yet replied.

The SPPA argues there is considerable research to back its view that children do better if formal education starts later.

"There seems to be a healthy progression from toddler group where the parent is there, to playgroup where the parent is there sometimes, to nursery where the parent is rarely if ever there and into primary 1. This is not to deny choice to parents who want some other pattern, but the baby should not be thrown out with the bath water," Mrs Simpson said.

The SPPA argues that the advice and support its staff can offer is needed more than ever. However, the Scottish Office has not allocated extra funds for national umbrella agencies. "This is financially very short-sighted," Mrs Simpson said.

Mary Wales, development officer, said a number of effective partnerships had been established in rural areas, particularly Dumfries and Galloway and Argyll and Bute.

She also praised Stirling for commissioning places chosen by parents. It was a "useful attempt" to ensure funding follows the child and not the place.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now