Early learning and childcare providers: delivery support plan

A range of actions to support early learning and childcare providers to prepare for the transition to 2020.

Summary of The Delivery Support Plan for Early Learning and Childcare Providers

The expansion to 1140 hours from 2020, and the introduction of the new Funding Follows the Child approach, will bring about transformational changes in the ELC sector.

It is underpinned by our A Blueprint for 2020 Action Plan, published in March 2017, which set out the policy vision and framework for delivering the expansion.

The delivery of high quality ELC will help all children reach their potential and contribute to closing the poverty-related attainment gap.

Providers from all parts of the sector will be vital to delivering this ambitious policy – regardless of whether they are in the private, public, or third sector, or whether they are childminders.

We understand that this level of change can create challenges for providers and that the nature of these challenges can vary across providers. Whilst this Plan sets out actions to benefit all providers it has a particular focus on measures to support providers in the private and third sectors, including childminders.

We have committed to supporting providers to prepare for the transition to 2020, and set out a range of actions in this Delivery Support Plan. This builds on support that is already available, and sets out further actions that will be introduced. It is important that this Plan remains flexible and is able to adapt to any emerging challenges or opportunities.

We are grateful for the input from a range of providers which has helped shape this Delivery Support Package and we will continue to engage with providers to inform its further development, building on existing support measures to ensure that it addresses the key challenges that providers are facing.

ELC providers in the private and third sectors, including childminders, have raised the following key challenges in their engagement with us:

  • Financial pressures, with concerns regarding their sustainability.
  • A lack of genuine partnership between local authorities and funded providers in some local authority areas.
  • Staffing and workforce, in particular the loss of experienced staff to local authority settings; and
  • A need for improved communication with parents and carers, in particular making them more aware of the options available to them when accessing the funded entitlement.

We have focused the Delivery Support Plan on actions which offer support in those areas. "Summary of the Key Actions to Support Providers" provides a summary of key actions in each area, with more details in the following sections.

Summary of the Key Actions to Support Providers

Actions to support the financial sustainability of providers:

  • 100% business rate relief for premises wholly or mainly used as day nurseries introduced in April 2018.
  • Local authorities encouraged to utilise the final £6 million ELC revenue allocation for 2018-19 to provide immediate support to funded providers.
  • Through the multi-year funding agreement supporting the payment of sustainable rates to funded providers by 2020.
  • Raising awareness of business support for providers, and working with delivery partners to help providers more easily access this support.
  • Provide Care Inspectorate and Education Scotland with additional resource to support providers to meet the quality aspects of the National Standard.

Actions to strengthen partnership working:

  • ELC Partnership Forum established in October 2018, with COSLA, to drive action and promote more meaningful partnership working across the ELC sector.
  • A Partnership Summit in early summer to bring together providers and local authorities to showcase good practice partnership working.
  • Creating the mechanisms for sharing good practice partnership working, including through dedicated ELC spaces within Knowledge Hub.

Actions to support workforce recruitment and training challenges:

  • Working with COSLA to enable providers in the private and third sectors to post job opportunities for free on My Jobs Scotland in the period up to 2020.
  • ELC Modern Apprenticeships (MAs) increasing by 10% each year to 2020, and from April 2018 the contribution for over 25s ELC MAs increased to £1,700.
  • Working with delivery partners to identify further opportunities to incentivise more older workers to take-up training opportunities in ELC.
  • Ensuring that there is appropriate training support for childminders, in particular through flexible training options.
  • Providing targeted advice and support to providers to help them to implement Fair Work practices and to deliver the real Living Wage commitment.

Actions to improve communication with parents and carers:

  • Develop an online resource to empower parents and carers to make informed choices about the right ELC setting for their child.
  • Work with providers and local authorities to develop a national information resource that all settings and local authorities can share with parents locally.
  • Hold a childminding summit with the SCMA by March 2019 focused on ensuring parents and carers understand the potential benefits of accessing all or part of their child's entitlement from a childminding service.


Email: Euan Carmichael

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