The Scottish Government Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) census is an important mechanism for gathering information from services that deliver the funded ELC entitlement. It has been recognised that the current ELC census is not sufficient to provide the information necessary to manage this growing sector and is burdensome for data providers to complete, with little benefit to them. The ELC Data Transformation Project (ELC DTP) has been developed, based on the recommendations set out to in response to the findings of the ELC data consultation, to address the perceived shortcomings. The ELC DTP aims to improve the information gathered and expand the analysis that will be possible for this sector.
In order to deliver the new data collection and collection process, it is necessary to carry out trials to test certain changes with the process along the way.
The first trial was conducted in May 2017, testing collecting data in term 3 (April/May, rather than in September) and collecting data directly from local authorities rather than from ELC settings. It also included registrations for funded ELC with childminders, which is not captured in the current census.