Expansion of early learning and childcare in Scotland: Quality Action Plan

A Quality Action Plan to underpin the expansion of early learning and childcare (ELC) in Scotland to 1140 hours per year by 2020.

A Holistic Curriculum

The curriculum in ELC is central to providing clarity and certainty on what children should learn within a caring, nurturing environment. We expect funded ELC providers across all sectors to deliver the early level of Curriculum for Excellence (CfE), designed for children from age three until the end of primary one, or later for some. The principles of Curriculum for Excellence are consistent with the drivers of quality which underpin this plan, in particular, with the pedagogy and practice that encourages warm and supportive interactions and a holistic focus on child development. The key to achieving better outcomes for children is a holistic approach that recognises the connection between all aspects of child development – social and emotional, physical and cognitive.

However, for CfE to be embedded, practitioners need to know the rationale and expectations of their curriculum. It is concerning then that the Education Scotland report ‘Quality and improvement in Scottish education 2012-2016’ (May 2017) highlighted that there are still too many instances where the rationale for the curriculum is not clearly defined or understood well enough by staff. Other relevant areas for improvement that were identified included ensuring appropriate levels of choice, depth and challenge across all areas of learning.

To strengthen understanding of CfE among the ELC profession, we will include a module on developing and understanding of curriculum rationale in the online national programme of CPL.


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