A blueprint for 2020: the expansion of early learning and childcare in Scotland - 2017-2018 action plan

Outline of actions regarding the expansion of early learning and childcare.

Summary Of Actions

1. We will produce a Quality Action Plan, by the end of October 2017, that sets out what more needs to be done to strengthen quality in ELC, and will use this as a driver for improving children's outcomes.

2. We will increase support for the M.Ed Early Years Pedagogue course at Aberdeen and Strathclyde Universities from the 2018-19 academic year.

3. We will improve the quality of data available on the graduate workforce, by supplementing the data on teachers with information on the number of staff with a relevant graduate level qualification working within the sector.

4. As part of our response to the Education Governance Review, we will ensure we have the right inspection arrangements in place for fair, transparent and consistent assessment of quality in ELC. In particular, we will consider how we can build on the positive work the inspectorates have undertaken in recent years to create a more streamlined and holistic system supporting quality improvement in ELC.

5. We will work with the Care Inspectorate and other partners to publish a new Learning and Development Pathway for childminders in September 2017.

6. We will work with the Scottish Childminding Association ( SCMA), the Care Inspectorate, the SSSC and other key delivery partners to consider, as part of the best practice standard for childminders, the potential for a requirement for those childminders delivering the funded ELC entitlement to be qualified to the same level as an ELC practitioner.

7. As set out in the National Improvement Framework and Improvement Plan, we will ensure that appropriate data on children's progress is shared between professionals working with children from the early years onwards. This should help to support transitions.

8. We will identify and share examples of how the Attainment Scotland Fund and the Pupil Equity Fund are being used to support transitions from ELC to primary school.

9. We will continue to explore options through UK legislation to enable the sharing of data by DWP and HMRC to allow local authorities to identify eligible families.

10. We will provide dedicated support to local authorities to help improve uptake amongst eligible 2 year olds.

11. We will continue to work with local authorities to produce guidance on implementation of the additional graduate commitment. Local authorities will be asked to submit action plans to show how they intend to deploy their additional graduates.

12. We will create a fund that enables staff to support children with ASN or disabilities. This could cover funding for specialist training for ELC staff as well as funding for equipment for adaptations, providing sensory areas, or establishing equipment banks in local areas.

13. We will improve the data collected on children with ASN to enhance our understanding of additional support needs of this age group, and the support plans in place for them.

14. We will publish guidance on delivering the Daily Mile in ELC in autumn 2017.

15. We will establish an ELC Service Models Working Group with local authorities to: develop the details of the new Funding Follows the Child model; and produce a national standard for a more open process to becoming a funded provider.

16. Through our Quality Action Plan, we will work with stakeholders to define the quality dimensions of the national partnership standard. This will draw heavily on existing quality standards used by Education Scotland and the Care Inspectorate. Our response to the Education Governance review will provide clarity on responsibilities for the overall monitoring of standards.

17. We will commission a feasibility study to explore the potential costs and benefits of introducing an Early Learning and Childcare Account in the future.

18. We will consult on the legislative changes required to ensure that existing provisions on flexibility, including consultation requirements, remain appropriate to deliver our policy vision for 2020.

19. We will publish guidance on delivering flexibility in early 2018, drawing on the operation of, and learning from, the ELC delivery model trials to help local authorities design their provision for 2020.

20. We will establish and provide delivery support to local authorities. This multi‑disciplinary team, which has been co-designed with local authorities, will provide access to additional service innovation and redesign capacity and to professional and technical expertise on common and complex issues.

21. We will increase the number of ELC Modern Apprenticeships by 10% year on year up to 2020.

22. We will review the financial contributions and eligibility criteria for ELC related apprenticeships for those over 25, to create new opportunities to join the workforce.

23. We will work with local authorities and delivery partners to develop recruitment and career pathways which assist in both attracting and retaining high calibre candidates within the ELC workforce, and which also improve the gender balance across the sector.

24. We will launch a recruitment marketing campaign in autumn 2017. This will positively promote careers in ELC and the opportunities to transform the lives of our children.

25. We will work with SDS to produce updated guidance on opportunities in ELC for careers advice organisations, ensuring that this reflects the range of roles available in the sector.

26. We will work with delivery partners, who already have excellent links to communities across Scotland, to raise the profile of a career in ELC amongst underrepresented groups. This will be complemented by our recruitment marketing campaign.

27. We will publish a new good practice design guide for ELC in June 2017, which will promote good, innovative design for both indoor and outdoor space.

28. We will commission the Scottish Futures Trust to produce an ELC infrastructure progress report to ensure we can learn and share lessons to inform the capital investment between now and 2020, and highlight the opportunities that this investment programme presents to support wider economic growth.

29. We will publish an analysis of the extent of on-site childcare provision in Scotland's Higher and Further Education estates in early summer 2017.

30. We will implement a programme of pilot approaches in 2017-18 to explore how additional support can be tailored to help reduce the burden of upfront childcare costs. The pilots will focus on trialling deposit guarantee schemes. We will set out more details in summer 2017.

31. We will publish the first in a series of evaluation reports by the end of 2017. This will include an evaluation of the current expansion to 600 hours per annum as well as baseline indicators for monitoring progress towards the expansion to 1140 hours.


Email: Euan Carmichael

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