Skip to main content

Build a world-class childcare system

Childcare Thumbnail
Overview —

Scotland could build a world class childcare system to ensure that all of our children get the best start in life that they can.

200 years ago, Robert Owen opened the first formalised pre-school education centre in the UK as part of his utopian socialist project in New Lanark. Owen’s approach as an educationalist, based on teachers encouraging the children to enjoy themselves and engage with the world playfully, was light years ahead of the strict discipline and punishment approach that lasted in the UK into the post-war era.

Therefore in one sense the approach of Common Weal towards early years’ education, detailed in our new report An Equal Start, has a connection to a very old Scottish educational tradition of Owenism. However, in another sense our report ventures into very new and unchartered territory.

Children get the best start in life if they can get childcare in great quality facilities with first-rate, well-trained, highly paid staff running a play-based development programme. But we need to build more facilities and we need to train a lot more staff. 

We've created a blueprint with a costed plan for how to deliver 30 free hours of childcare in Scotland. If the plan is implemented, we’re confident it would measurably improve quality of life in Scotland for parents, young children and childhood professionals.