Isla O'Reilly, Scottish Green Party spokesperson on Education and MSP candidate for the Highlands & Islands, has today welcomed a report that highlights the importance of value of accredited teaching staff in nurseries.

The report, commissioned by the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) and conducted independently by the Child's Curriculum Group, shows that children benefit from having professional teaching staff in pre-school settings.

The report highlighted that while the Scottish Government has committed to reducing the attainment gap and increasing free childcare provision, the number of GTCS-registered teachers in nurseries has reduced by 29% over the last 10 years.

O'Reilly urged the Scottish Government to ensure it is harnessing the expertise of teaching professionals to ensure every child benefits from a high-quality pre-school education.

Isla O'Reilly said:

"Quality, free early years education is absolutely essential if we want to narrow the attainment gap and give all Scottish children the best start in life. But this means we have to invest not just in numbers of children with access to pre-school education, but improve the quality of that education. This can only be done by having highly qualified, passionate staff working to support every single child that comes through the nursery door.

"If we are to tackle the terrible inequality that set back too many Scottish kids, we can't keep letting teacher numbers drop. Having a free place in nursery is a great start, but if there are not enough teachers to support children's learning, we won't get very far.

"We know that educators who are respected, well paid and highly qualified can make all the difference to the quality of education we provide. The Scottish Government needs to take some pride in the good work of our teachers, and make sure their skills and expertise are harnessed to give Scotland's children the best pre-school education possible."