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AS highlighted in recent media stories (“SNP admits confusion over flagship policy of free nursery places”, your report, 4 June), a major area of concern for parents with pre-school children is the lack of places in nurseries when and where they want them, caused, in part, by the free nursery places scheme.

However, free nursery places is a hugely important policy if we care about pre-school education and getting parents back to work. Increasing parents’ entitlement from 475 hours a year to 600 is unquestionably a good thing and roundly welcomed. Short-term it will put pressure on the existing system, but getting it right is not beyond our grasp.

Scotland has a wealth of childcare expertise in the private sector, providing outdoor learning, specialist teaching and services for parents, and this is a time to work closely and collaboratively with these nurseries to ensure all parents have access to quality childcare.

The government should explore what is available through private nurseries and how it can integrate them more productively into the current regime. It is far better to spread the requirement and far more cost effective to use places available in the private ­sector than to start building new nurseries.

Graeme Scott

Chief executive
Bertram Nursery Group


Causewayside, Edinburgh