Extend childcare

The SNP must reconsider its Scotland’s Future manifesto childcare proposals. No provision is being made, it seems, for the youngsters’ development, the focus is simply on enabling more mothers to try to get back to gainful employment.

This is not good enough as the sole objective. The initiative needs to be extended to building a nationwide trained, well-paid cohort of, literally, child developers, operating to a national curriculum in child-friendly environments.

This will not come cheap, so Holyrood has to spell out, right from the start, what funds will be diverted from other projects for this essential purpose. 

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It should have been organised already in years long past. The vaunted Nordic nations’ practices are, here too, an excellent model, their high taxes are deployed for such expensive pre-school development. Finland, Norway, Denmark and Sweden have all introduced core curricula for pre-school children from six months to six years, based on “learning how to learn”, with teacher-led, play-centred activities backed up with assistants and nursing staff. The formal teaching then kicks in highly successfully from seven years. Scotland has a small enough population to get this under way now. First organise the training of the development staff and find the locations for the “classes” – which might include exploratory walks and visits. Learn from the example, say, set by Finland.

Joe Darby


Dingwall, Ross-shire

Nordic-style childcare does not have to wait until Scotland becomes independent before it is affordable. The abolition of taxpayer-funded Catholic education would free up hundreds of millions of pounds, which could be used to transform the lives of Scotland’s children.

When it comes to the allocation of resources, children in Scotland will always lose out to the demands of the Catholic Church for taxpayer funding.

Ian Stewart

Convener Atheist Scotland