Children and young people’s views and experiences
The Scottish Government’s decision to increase funded ELC was informed by a range of international evidence about the transformative impact of ELC for children. Due to the age of the children involved, our approach to representing children’s views during the development to this policy has largely been to engage with organisations that represent children and families’ interests although local authorities facilitated some discussions with children on our behalf, described below. In addition, we know that parents consider their own child’s views when choosing the right setting for them. Our parent survey found that feedback from their child is also important for parents’ quality judgements, including parents listening to their child’s explicit views, and looking for evidence of their child’s development.
The Scottish Government has consulted widely on the expansion of funded ELC and findings from these consultations have shaped the development of the policy. Full respondent lists are included in each of the published analysis to the consultations. Respondents included but were not limited to local government, ELC providers, public bodies and regulators, voluntary organisations, and parents and carers:
- 1140 Hours Expansion – Programme of trials  . This consultation gathered views on the Scottish Government’s programme of trials to test a variety of models for delivering the expanded ELC commitment. This consultation received 73 responses.
- A Blueprint for 2020: The Expansion in Early Learning and Childcare [2016-2017] . This consultation gathered views on the Scottish Government’s vision and high-level principles for the expansion as well as the key policy choices that had to be made. It included questions on ensuring equality of access. This consultation received 336 written responses. In addition, a series of consultative events were held across Scotland to raise awareness of the consultation and to seek views of parents directly.
- Expansion of Early Learning and Childcare in Scotland: Quality Action Plan . This sets out
15 actions that we are taking to strengthen and further embed quality in the ELC offer, and this was developed collaboratively with key representatives of the ELC sector who were represented on the Quality Reference Group.
- Early Learning and Childcare Service Models consultation  . This consultation gathered views on the proposed range of criteria that would form the National Standard underpinning the ‘Funding Follows the Child’ approach to early learning and childcare (ELC) service provision. This consultation was run jointly with COSLA. This consultation received 219 written responses. In addition to the online consultation, the Scottish Government held a total of eight consultation events in different locations. Most attendees at the events were ELC providers.
- Parent Focus Groups [2018-2019]. We held nine focus groups with parents and carers of children in early learning and childcare to seek feedback on our parental communication strategy. These events were attended
by 86 parents and carers in total. Special consideration was taken to ensure the views of different parent groups were heard; this included ensuring there was a wide geographical spread of sessions, purposefully taking
into account those communities which have a high proportion of minority ethnic families and families which live in rural communities. To inform the parent focus group discussions, a number of discussions and a
co-design workshop were held with organisations including Stepping Stones for Families, Save the Children, Children in Scotland, Parent Network Scotland, Families Outside, Early Years Scotland, the Multicultural Family Base, South Lanarkshire Council, Moray Council, and a Young Scot young parent group.
- Children’s Views . Two local authorities agreed to conduct small scale facilitated discussions with children. Children offered observations on outdoor learning, longer days, staff, what they like about ELC, what they didn’t like about ELC, what they learn, food, and naps. Overall children were positive about their experience, particularly mentioning the wide range of activities that they participate in during their ELC sessions. Where children expressed negative views, this was largely related to missing parents and other personal relationships.
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