Woodland Outdoor Kindergartens has become the first independent nursery to be accredited as a Living Wage Employer in the Glasgow area.
Minister for Children and Young People Maree Todd said:
“Well done to Woodland Outdoor Kindergartens for demonstrating leadership and becoming an accredited Living Wage employer.
“As part of the expansion in funded Early Learning and Childcare entitlement to 1140 hours, the Scottish Government is committed to promoting and encouraging fair work practices. This includes providing, as part of the new Funding Follows the Child approach, the funding to enable payment of the ‘real’ Living Wage to all childcare workers delivering the funded hours from 2020.
“I hope other nurseries will see the benefits of becoming Living Wage accredited employers, which evidence shows can lead to increased productivity, better morale and lower sickness absence.”
Chief Executive of Early Years Scotland, Jean Carwood-Edwards, Heather Douglas, Early Years’ Manager, Glasgow City Council and representatives from the Scottish Government Early Learning and Childcare Team joined staff and children to celebrate the accreditation at the woodland classroom within Pollok Country Park on Wednesday 3rd October.
Chief Executive of Early Years Scotland, Jean Carwood-Edwards, said:
“Early Years Scotland is absolutely delighted to join Woodland Outdoor Kindergartens in celebrating its accreditation as a Living Wage employer.
“Payment of the Living Wage, as a minimum, is rightly one of the key criteria at the heart of the new National Standard that will underpin all funded nursery provision in Scotland from 2020. To deliver high quality early learning and care, we need a workforce that is properly rewarded for doing a job which not only greatly benefits our youngest children and their families, but society as a whole.
“Securing Living Wage accreditation at this early stage is further evidence of Woodland Outdoor Kindergartens’ status as a highly progressive nursery provider, building on its reputation as an innovator in the area of outdoor play and learning.”
Staff working in childcare are often amongst the lowest paid in our society. A number of private and third sector establishments pay their staff at or close to the minimum wage for a role that is crucial to shaping our children’s development. Currently there are only five private and third sector early years settings across all of Scotland committed to paying staff a real living wage.
Alison Latta, Woodland Outdoor Kindergartens Co-founder said:
“We are delighted to announce that Woodland Outdoor Kindergartens is now officially an accredited Living Wage Employer. This means that every member of staff working for Woodland Outdoor Kindergartens will earn a real Living Wage, regardless of their age, experience, qualifications, length of service or job role. We are proud that 75% of our staff are in fact paid at a rate greater than £8.75.”
The real Living Wage is higher than the government’s minimum, or National Living Wage, and is an independently calculated hourly rate of pay that is based on the actual cost of living. It is calculated each year and is announced by the Living Wage Foundation as part of Living Wage Week. It is currently £8.75 in the UK, with a higher rate of £10.20 for London, reflecting the higher costs of living in the capital.
As part of the Scottish Government’s childcare expansion plan, all nurseries will be required to pay the real living wage from August 2020.
Debbie Simmers, Woodland Outdoor Kindergartens Co-founder said:
“We are committed to working in partnership with Glasgow City Council and the Scottish Government to deliver under the ambitious new expansion plans. Currently our parents help to plug the funding gap to allow us to reward our staff fairly. We are calling on Glasgow City Council to ensure that from 2020 the funding rate paid to providers is sufficient to allow us to continue to reward our staff fairly and deliver 1140 hours of genuinely free childcare to parents”.
Heather Douglas, Early Years’ Manager, Glasgow City Council said:
“Glasgow is always looking for innovative ways in which to expand our early learning outdoor play strategy and we are never afraid to try new things! We want to give our children every opportunity to explore the great outdoors – learning and playing in their environment without walls to restrict their imaginations.
“This is even more important as we all work towards the 1140hrs expansion plans and have more opportunities to make learning fun for our children. The council is delighted to be in partnership with Woodland Outdoor Kindergartens and as a strong advocate of the living wage, the council welcomes their endorsement as a living wage employer and look forward to developing our partnership further.”
Patrick Harvie, Green MSP for Glasgow, said:
“I want to congratulate Woodland Outdoor Kindergartens on becoming a Living Wage employer. It sets a great example to others in the childcare sector that all staff, regardless of age or length of service, can be paid a fair wage which values the immensely important work they do.”
Peter Kelly, Director of the Poverty Alliance said:
“The real Living Wage is one of the key tools at our disposal to help make an impact on levels of in-work poverty in Scotland. There is a strong business case for paying the Living Wage; but crucially it allows those in work to become more included in society, better provide for their families, and feel that their value and hard work is recognised by their employer. We are delighted to congratulate Woodland Outdoor Kindergartens on becoming a Living Wage employer. I hope more organisations follow their lead by becoming accredited”.