Early learning and childcare expansion evaluation

Research and analysis about the evaluation of the expansion of early learning and childcare.


From August 2021, the entitlement to funded early learning and childcare (ELC) for all three and four year olds and eligible two year olds increased from 600 to 1,140 hours a year (30 hours a week if taken term time).

We publish a range of research and analysis as part of the evaluation of the ELC expansion.

Evaluation strategy

This publication sets out our strategy for evaluating the impact of the early learning and childcare expansion to 1140 hours. It is an outcomes-based evaluation strategy and the primary focus is on measuring outcomes for children, parents and carers, and families.

Scottish Study of Early Learning and Childcare

The Scottish Study of Early Learning and Childcare (SSELC) is a research project established to evaluate the expansion of funded ELC in Scotland. It is the main vehicle within our evaluation strategy for obtaining evaluation data on child, parent and family outcomes. Reports on phases 1 to 3 outline findings from the baseline phases of the SSELC, which collected data on children and their parents who were receiving 600 funded hours of ELC.

Parents' views and use

These publications present findings from research undertaken to explore use of, and views on, ELC among parents and carers of children in Scotland who have not yet started school. Parent surveys were undertaken in 2022 and 2017, before and after the expansion of funded ELC. Qualitative research with parents was undertaken during 2021 to 2022. 

Role and impact of childminding services

As part of the evaluation strategy, a qualitative research study was undertaken that aimed to develop the evidence base on the impact of childminding services on child, parent and carer, and family outcomes. 

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