Edinburgh schools: Juniper Green Primary after-school care halve capacity due to staffing shortages
North Edinburgh Childcare, which runs after-school clubs for Juniper Green Primary School, has been forced to turn children away due to extreme staffing shortages.
On Thursday, guardians of children attending the school received an email, informing them that the capacity of children able to attend after-school clubs would be significantly reduced from Monday (May 9).
In the communication sent to parents, the manager of the childcare centre wrote: “The childcare sector is facing a recruitment crisis and as you are aware, we are no exception to this. Unfortunately, we have not been able to fill the current vacancies at the afterschool club and we are now facing no other option than to reduce our capacity until we have new staff in place.
“Our regulator the Care Inspectorate requires all childcare providers to meet certain staff: child ratios and we must ensure we are compliant with this and providing high quality care.”
At first, North Edinburgh Childcare announced that slots at the club would be allocated based on the first letter of the children’s surnames, however, a spokesperson for the centre said: “There was a misunderstanding of how places were allocated alphabetically”.
Many parents were concerned that they would be left without any days of after-school care, but the spokesperson claimed that “no children will be without the offer of childcare”.
However, some families have been left without their preferred choice of childcare days.
A parent of a child attending the after-school club told the Evening News: “It just isn't acceptable to let working parents know at three days notice that they don't have childcare for the following week.
"Whilst I feel very sorry for them that they are having a recruitment crisis, I feel like they didn’t handle it very well.”
She works Monday through to Wednesday, and was originally told her child would not be able to attend these days, due to her surname.
While she has managed to resolve the issue with the manager, she is concerned that this will not be the case for everyone.
She said: “There are other parents who will be affected by this who are working full-time. What are they going to do?”
A spokesperson for North Edinburgh Childcare said: "The action we have taken at Juniper Green has been driven by the fact that we operate in a highly regulated sector we work to a strict adult to child ratio and we would never operate out of regulation our parents understand this.
"It is a temporary measure until we can recruit to our vacancies and we have enhanced our rates of pay in order to attract peoples interest to our vacant posts.”
Lee Picken, chair of the Juniper Green Primary School Parent Council: “Obviously the situation at the afterschool club causes some serious issues for working parents, however the staff have been working really hard both to recruit new staff and to accommodate as many of our families' childcare requirements as they possibly can.
"If we’re going to criticise anyone it should be the Scottish Government and The City of Edinburgh Council for the lack of support they’ve provided to the childcare sector. I’ve been really impressed by the way the manager of the Treehouse Afterschool Club has handled the situation, under some quite unreasonable pressure from some parents.”