Early learning and childcare service model for 2020: consultation analysis
Analysis of responses to the joint Scottish Government and COSLA consultation on the new Early Learning and Childcare service model for 2020.
Chapter 5 Childminders
The consultation document proposed that the National Standard includes a training requirement for childminders delivering the funded entitlement to be qualified or working towards the same qualification level as is required for an ELC practitioner (SCQF level 7).
This chapter covers a range of questions associated with this proposal:
- The advantages of this proposal
- Risks of this proposal
- The extent to which childminders can access adequate funding to pay for training to SCQF level 7
- The extent to which childminders can access training to SCQF level 7 in a way that is flexible enough to allow them to continue running their business.
Respondents' comments to these questions are explored in further detail below.
5.1 Advantages of this proposal
The majority of respondents outlined different advantages of the proposed qualification requirement for childminders, including:
- Respondents felt that this qualification requirement would bring a range of benefits to childminders, including having:
- A better understanding and knowledge of child development
- An increased status and raised profile in the ELC sector
- Greater opportunities for professional development opportunities.
- More generally, the qualification requirement was regarded as ensuring high quality and consistency of service provision across the ELC sector. Respondents pointed out that there is evidence that a higher skilled workforce leads to positive outcomes for children.
- It was suggested that this qualification requirement would ensure that there is a parity of qualification between childminders and other ELC practitioners. Being familiar with the same resources and framework as ELC practitioners was seen as allowing for better partnership working and, ultimately, continuity of care for children that receive care in a nursery and a childminding setting. The latter was seen as providing the opportunity for local authorities and the Care Inspectorate to monitor quality across different services more consistently.
- It was felt that this parity in qualifications opens up the possibility for professionals to move between different services, eg childminding and nursery services.
- Respondents highlighted the importance for all staff in the ELC sector to be registered with the Scottish Social Services Council.
- It was highlighted that the training requirement has the benefit of giving parents and carers additional reassurance about the quality of ELC their children receive. It was suggested that this may ultimately lead to more parents and carers taking up the services of childminders.
5.2 Risks of the proposal
Some respondents pointed out a risk associated with the proposed qualification requirement. They felt that childminders are already delivering high quality care and they had the concern that highly qualified and experienced childminders may decide not to pursue the training and ultimately not offer funded ELC. This would, as respondents pointed out, counteract the goal of expanding childcare services in Scotland.
5.3 Childminders' access to funding for training
Respondents were asked whether childminders can access adequate funding to pay for training to SCQF level 7 (see figure 4). Of those that answered, 40% thought that childminders were able to access adequate funding. 45% of individuals (some of whom are likely to be childminders themselves) answered yes that they felt childminders could access adequate funding. Other than Local Government respondents, most organisations said that they did not know whether childminders were able to access adequate funding. Around 60% of Local Authority respondents said yes, with the remaining saying that they didn't know.
Figure 4 – The extent to which respondent groups agree that childminders can access adequate funding to pay for training to SCQF level 7
More than half of respondents said they did not know whether childminders can access adequate funding for training
In their open-text comment, respondents suggested that there are funding opportunities for training that childminders can access by local authorities, colleges, the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS) or Individual Training Accounts. However, it was felt that the funding was previously more targeted at those practitioners requiring a qualification and therefore harder to access for childminders.
With the training requirement potentially coming into place, respondents hoped that childminders would then have equal access to funding that is available to other ELC practitioners.
5.4 Childminders' access to flexible training
Respondents were asked whether they felt that the access to training was flexible enough to enable them to continue to run their businesses (see Figure 5). More than half of the individual written respondents said yes. As with the prior question, most organisations other than Local Authorities said they didn't know.
Figure 5 – The extent to which different respondent groups agree that childminders can access training to SCQF level 7 in a way that is flexible enough to allow them to continue to run their business
More than half of individuals felt that childminders can access training to SCQF level 7 in a way that is flexible enough to allow them to continue to run their businesses
In their open-text comments, respondents underlined that it will be difficult for childminders, who often run a business on their own, to complete additional training. They highlighted the importance for childminders to access courses which are flexible (ie on evenings, weekends or long-distance/online). It was pointed out that flexible course delivery was important considering that many childminders are parents or carers themselves. While respondents recognised that there are such offers available, they highlighted the need for these to be expanded.
Email: Euan Carmichael
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