Early learning and childcare statutory guidance: consultation

This consultation sets out updated Statutory Guidance to education authorities to support them in exercising their functions in relation to the delivery of early learning and childcare from 1 August 2020.

Section 46: Definition of early learning and childcare

Early learning and childcare is defined in section 46 of the 2014 Act as a service, consisting of education and care, of a kind which is suitable in the ordinary case for children who are under school age, regard being had to the importance of interactions and other experiences which support learning and development in a caring and nurturing setting.

22. Early learning and childcare, as defined in the 2014 Act, removed the artificial divide between pre-school for 3 and 4 year olds; and, childcare for 0 – 3 year olds; or, pre-school and wrap around care for 3 and 4 year olds; whereby pre-school is the educational element delivered in short blocks tied to a certain number of hours in a day; topped up by childcare or wrap around care which can be seen as less important to learning. It recognises the role that responsive care, regardless of how it is funded, plays in supporting children’s development.

23. This term seeks to emphasise the holistic and seamless provision of nurture, care and development of social, emotional, physical and cognitive skills, abilities and wellbeing.

24. Play, as outlined in the national practice guidance ‘Building the Ambition[6], will continue to be an essential and fundamental part of children’s learning and happiness. Early learning and childcare providers should ensure that all children have play experiences as part of their daily lives, as enshrined in Article 31 of the United National Convention on the Rights of Children (UNCRC)[7].


Email: elcstatutoryguidance@gov.scot

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