Section Two - Reflective Practice
The aim of this section of the National Induction Resource is to encourage you to reflect on the important role you play in a child's life. It is designed to reinforce your individual responsibility and accountability to help you be the best early learning and childcare practitioner possible, to help you to understand how reflecting on your practice can help improve outcomes for children and how your workplace can support you.
Throughout your career you will be encouraged to reflect on your practice. This means learning from your everyday experiences and using this to develop your work with children. The reflective questions in this resource should be viewed as a first step in your self-evaluation and personal development process which will continue throughout your career. They are designed to encourage you to reflect on the extent to which you are demonstrating the skills, knowledge and understanding to work with children, young people and families in Scotland.
You should work through these questions with your workplace mentor who can give you advice and support which will help develop your skills and knowledge. They are written to promote discussion about your role in providing quality care and learning for children. Your mentor will work with you and support you in the work place by providing learning opportunities, guidance and role modelling.
Self-evaluation for self-improvement underpins the Scottish approach to quality assurance of all aspects of provision in Scottish education, and is a key element in reflective practice. Self-evaluation can also improve and develop your leadership skills throughout your career (see the 'Leadership at all levels' section of this resource). There are a range of tools and resources to help you to develop in reflective practice.
Realising the Ambition: Being Me is the national practice guidance document for early years provision in Scotland. While it is not a self-evaluation framework, it draws together key messages about children's learning and development, aspects of important research and effective practice all in one accessible document. Section 5 includes information on pedagogical leadership and Section 7 has a particular focus on ensuring high quality services for children. However all sections will be useful to you in your work within ELC.
How Good is Our Early Learning and Childcare? (HGIOELC?) is a key tool to support you, and your team, to reflect on and continuously improve your work. The framework includes a range of quality indicators that are designed to support you to look closely at different aspects of your practice, including leadership and management. By taking time to reflect on and plan for improvements you will be able to understand and celebrate what you do well, and what you could do to improve your practice.
Education Scotland is the Scottish Government executive agency that supports quality and improvement across all areas of Scottish education. It provides advice and guidance to support improvement through partnership working, professional learning and access to resources on their website. In settings that provide funded ELC, Education Scotland inspects the quality of provision for children. Education Scotland uses HGIOELC? to assess and report on the quality of funded ELC settings.
The Care Inspectorate is the regulatory body responsible for inspecting standards and supporting improvement of care in Scotland. The Care Inspectorate has statutory obligations under the Public Services Reform (Scotland) Act 2010 to carry out inspections of all ELC settings and, where appropriate, provide services with improvement support to ensure the provision of high quality experiences that supports positive outcomes for children and families.
The Care Inspectorate's updated quality framework for daycare of children, childminding and school-aged childcare includes - Key question 3: 'How good is our leadership?' (page 48) - outlining the key indicators of leadership which will help you to recognise and measure effectiveness, and in turn, support you to evaluate your own performance.
The Quality Framework is designed to support care services in self-evaluation and will be used by the Care Inspectorate during inspection. The Care Inspectorate will work with ELC services and sector-wide bodies to build the capacity for self-evaluation, based on the framework. Self-evaluation is a core part of assuring quality and supporting improvement. Understanding how well your service is performing should help you see what is working well and what needs to be improved. From that, you should be able to develop plans for improvement based on effective practice, guidance, research, testing and available improvement support.
Care Inspectorate inspectors will use the framework to evaluate the service performance, using the quality illustrations to identify any areas for improvement needed in the experiences and outcomes for children. A guide to the frequently asked questions about the Quality Framework is available on the Care Inspectorate's website. This should help you see how the Quality Framework will work in practice and how it aligns with other resources.
A 'scrutiny & improvement toolbox' is also provided to help identify key improvement resources in evaluating current leadership capacity, and how best to further develop leadership skills and knowledge. This includes resources such as Self-evaluation for improvement - your guide. In addition, bitesized learning sessions are provided to support you in respect of self-evaluation.
The SSSC provides a free, interactive resource - 'Step Into Leadership' – as a package of leadership focused learning resources and tools. These are aligned to each of the 6 capabilities, and in addition provide a 'Pathway Planner'. This includes a 360* self-evaluation to support you in assessing your leadership capability strengths, and identifying your priorities and areas for development. There are links to information on different theories and styles, as well as a wide range of effective practice examples.
The SSSC has also produced a '23 Things Early learning and Childcare Leadership' resource, which includes bite-size pieces of learning and allows you to customise your learning experience according to your needs and interests. Open badges are awarded for each of these optional learning components - and you can access as few or as many as you like, whenever it suits you.
In addition to the resources referenced in the framework, there are a range of further resources available to support you into - and throughout – your leadership journey. Videos and case studies, guidance and continued professional learning opportunities are all available, and further information can be found in the ELC Leadership Resources reference tool.
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