President Pat Watters said: 'We welcome the review of Scotland's early years workforce whilst at the same time recognising the invaluable job they currently do working with our young people.
'This framework incorporated proposals on a new grading structure, model job outlines and a career development framework. It has also formed the basis for the settlements reached in councils during the nursery nurse dispute and we trust the Executive will recognise the good work already undertaken by councils during their review.'
Echoing Mr Watters' comments COSLA education spokesman Ewan Aitken added: 'COSLA welcomes the review of Scotland's early years workforce.
'The review will deliver significant and positive outcomes not only for the workforce but for the young people and parents. It should build on and strengthen the future of early years and childcare provision, ensuring it meets the needs of children, families and staff as well as encourage cross departmental and inter-agency working.
'It will also remind us all just how many people are involved in the care and nurture of our young people and just how important they, and the job that they do, are.'
Mr Aitken did however sound a note of caution saying that the focus should be on outcomes of the delivery of the service and not on pay and conditions saying: 'This is more about quality and improvement of a service than purely a re-grading exercise.'
Press release from the Scottish Executive follows:
Review of early years workforce
A review of Scotland's early years workforce is expected to open new doors for thousands of workers.
The review aims to improve employment o pportunities for early years and childcare staff and raise the status of the sector. The review will deal with five key areas:
* Examining and defining the role and responsibilities of staff in all areas of the early years and childcare workforce
* Improving workforce planning, to ensure that there are adequate staff numbers in each area
* Simplifying and modernising the early years and childcare qualifications system
* Providing greater opportunities for staff in one area of the workforce to move to another
* Considering the potential implications of this work for pay and
Education minister Peter Peacock said:
'We have invested more than ever before in the early years sector and have seen the sector grow enormously and rapidly. We now have over 30,000 people working in this area.
'Our review will help consolidate, strengthen and shape the future of early years and childcare employment, ensuring it meets the needs of children, families and staff.
'We need good workforce planning and a well-trained and flexible workforce.
'This could make it easier for staff to move from one area of the workforce to another, potentially opening up new employment opportunities. This review will give the stakeholders in the sector the chance to have their say about the future of early years and childcare employment.
'I don't want to give anyone the impression this review will lead to automatic pay rises for workers in this sector. The primary focus of this review is not pay and conditions, but I recognise the work will have potential implications for pay and conditions, for example, by improving qualifications, career paths and the status of the sector. That is why the review will consider the implications of these considerations for pay and conditions.'
The review group will include trade union representation, COSLA, the Scottish Social Services Council, and representatives from the private and voluntary sectors and parents.
The review will rep ort to the Executive within one year.
The review will look at a variety of workers in the early years and childcare sector, including nursery nurses, childminders, playworkers, and those working in out-of-school clubs.
The review group will be chaired by a senior Scottish Executive official and will include representation from: COSLA; Unison; service providers from the statutory, voluntary, social economy and private sectors; Scottish Qualifications Authority; Scottish Social Services Council; Further Education/Higher Education training provision; a parents group.
From 2007, the early years and childcare workforce can register with the Scottish Social Services Council and, in due course, registration will become mandatory. All staff need to hold a recognised qualification to register.
Early years and childcare workers are receiving financial backing from the Executive to access qualifications and training, with£15.6m being made available from 2003-2006 through the Workforce Development Fund.
The Executive is investing£29m in its Childcare strategy for the coming year,£35m for the Sure Start programme, and£137m for free part-time pre-school education. A further£10m is being invested in the Working for Families Fund.