A time for change- reflection on the 2021 OSC Workforce Survey Results

From our recently published OSC Workforce Survey Results we know that the pandemic has had a significant negative impact on workers' health and wellbeing, especially that of managers who have had to shoulder a greatly increased level of responsibility. Leading out of school care services over the past two years has required managers to face a number of constant difficulties: changing guidance, lack of resources, acute staffing shortages, premises limitations, increased costs and reduced financial income to name a few. And of course, there has been the constant concern that infection will become present in a service despite best efforts to avoid it. The continual uncertainties and need to change plans, sometimes with little notice, has clearly been stressful and exhausting so it is no surprise that some workers have said that they have been close to breaking point.

When workers completed the survey at the end of 2021 we were faced with an increase in general restrictions due to the Omicron variant. There was an uncertainty of how the situation would develop: would we have to return to a lockdown situation or could this be avoided? Thankfully it was the latter and currently, now at the end of Feb 2022, we are looking at restrictions being lifted and eased. The Scottish government has also announced a £9.8million funding package to support the childcare sector. So, whilst the situation is looking more positive it's still not great and the issues which the past two years have highlighted- workforce and staffing being one of the main ones- need to be seriously considered with a view to making significant change.

We know that staff in out of school childcare want to work with children- they overwhelmingly said that it was the best thing about the job. However, they also told us that poor pay and conditions meant that it was difficult to survive financially which in turn contributes to staff leaving and an inability to recruit new workers. Qualifications requirements can also be a barrier to recruitment and retention, and whilst we fully believe that qualifications and training are necessary, we believe there needs to be a widening of registerable qualifications. We need diversity in the skills and knowledge in the workforce with pay and conditions that match the professional level of the work. Our workforce is our most valuable asset in providing children and young people with the best possible opportunities, experiences and outcomes, and this needs to be recognised not just with words but tangible rewards.

SOSCN shall continue to work at the national and strategic levels to promote and support this need for change.

Download the OSC Workforce Survey 2021:


last updated: 02/03/2022